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Full text of "White slavery in the Barbary states : a lecture before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, Feb. 17, 1847"

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FEB. 17, 1847. 


Mutalo nomine, tic te 

Fabula narratur. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S47, by 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 


M K T C A I. !' AND C O M P A N T, 



HISTORF has been sometimes called a gallery, where are pre- 
served, in living forms, the scenes, the incidents, and the charac- 
ters of the past. It may also be called the world's great charnel- 
house, where are gathered coffins, dead men's bones, and all the 
uncleanness of the years that have fled. As we walk among its 
pictures, radiant with the inspiration of virtue and of freedom, we 
confess a new impulse to beneficent exertion. As we grope amidst 
the unsightly shapes that have been left without an epitaph, we may 
at least derive a fresh aversion to all their living representatives. 

In this mighty gallery are the stately images of the benefactors of 
mankind, --the poets who have sung the praises of virtue, the his- 
torians who have recorded its achievements, and the good men of 
all time, who, by word or deed, have striven for the welfare of 
others. Here are depicted those scenes in which the divinity of 
man has been made manifest in trial and danger. Here also are 
those grand incidents which have attended the establishment of the 
free institutions of the world, the signing of Magna Charta, with 
its priceless privileges of freedom, by a reluctant monarch, and of 
the Declaration of Independence, the annunciation of the inalienable 
rights of man, by the fathers of our republic. 

On the other hand, in this dreary charnel-house are tumbled in 
ignominious confusion all that now remains of the tyrants, the per- 
secutors, and selfish men, under whom mankind have groaned. 
Here also are the extinct institutions or customs, which the earth, 
weary of their infamy and injustice, has refused to sustain, the 
Helotism of Sparta, the Serfdom of Christian Europe, and Algerine 

From this charnel-house let me draw forth one of these to-night. 
It may not be without profit to dwell on the origin, the history, and 
the character of a custom, which, after being for a long time a by- 
word and a hissing among the nations, has at last been driven from 
the world. Perhaps the easy condemnation which it cannot fail to 
receive at our hands may direct our judgment of other institutions, 
still tolerated in defiance of justice and humanity. I propose to 
consider the subject of White Slavery in Jllgiers, or perhaps it 
might be more appropriately called, While Slavery in the Barbary 
States. As Algiers was its chief seat, it seems to have acquired a 
current name from that place. This I shall not disturb ; though I 
shall speak of white slavery, or the slavery of Christians, through- 
out the Barbary States. 

If this subject should fail in interest, it cannot in novelty. I am 
not aware that any person has ever before attempted to combine in 
a connected essay the scattered materials with regard to it. 

The territory now known under the name of the Barbary States 
is memorable in history. Classical inscriptions, broken arches, and 
ancient tombs the memorials of various ages still continue to 
bear most interesting witness to the revolutions which it has encoun- 
tered.* Early Greek legend made it the home of terror and of 
happiness. Here was the retreat of the Gorgon, witli snaky tresses, 
turning all she looked upon into stone ; and here also the garden 
of the Hesperides, with its apples of gold. It was the scene of ad- 
venture and mythology. Here Hercules wrestled with Antaeus, and 
Atlas sustained with weary shoulders the overarching sky. Phre- 
nician fugitives transported to its coasts the spirit of commerce, and 
Carthage, which these wanderers first planted, became the mistress 
of the seas, the explorer of distant regions, the rival and the victim 
of Rome. The energy and subtlety of Jugurtha here baffled for a 
while the Roman power, till at last the whole country from Egypt 
to the Pillars of Hercules underwent the process of annexation to 
the cormorant republic of ancient times. Its thriving population 
and its fertile soil rendered it an immense granary. It was filled with 
famous cities, one of which was the refuge and grave of Cato, flee- 

* The classical studi nt will ]>< ^nii'ilii-d and smjui-i :1 by the remains of antiquity 
which are described by Dr. Shiuv, English chaphim ;it Algiers in the reign of 
George the First, in his Trurrls find Obsi.rrutions relating to Scteral Parts of Bariary 
and tin: 1. 1 rant, published in \~, 

ing from the usurpations of Caesar. At a later day Christianity was 
here preached by some of her most saintly bishops. The torrent 
of the Vandals, which had wasted Italy, passed over this territory, 
and the arms of Belisarius here obtained some of their most signal 


triumphs. The Saracens, with the Koran and the sword, potent 
ministers of conversion, next broke from Arabia, as the messengers 
of a new religion, and, pouring along these shores, diffused the faith 
and doctrines of Mohammed. Their empire was not confined even 
by these extended limits ; but, under Musa, entered Spain, and at 
Roncesvalles encountered the embattled chivalry of the Christian 
world under Charlemagne. 

The Saracenic power did not long retain its unity or importance ; 
and as we view this territory in the dawn of modern history, when 
the countries of Europe are appearing in their new nationalities, we 
discern five different communities or states, - Morocco, Algiers, 
Tunis, Tripoli, and Barca, - - the latter of little moment and often 
included in Tripoli, the whole constituting what was then and is still 
called the Barbary States. This name has sometimes been referred 
to the Berbers, or Berebbers, so called, constituting a part of the 
inhabitants ; but I delight to follow the classic authority of Gibbon, 
who thinks* that the term first applied by Greek pride to all stran- 
gers, and finally reserved for those only who were savage or hostile, 
has justly settled as a local denomination along the northern coast 
of Africa. The Barbary States, then, bear their past character 
in their name. 

They occupy an important space on the earth's surface ; on the 
north, washed by the Mediterranean Sea, furnishing such oppor- 
tunities of prompt intercourse with Southern Europe, that Cato 
was able to exhibit in the Roman Senate figs which had been 
freshly plucked in the gardens of Carthage ; bounded on the 
east by Egypt, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the 
south by the vast, indefinite, sandy, flinty wastes of Sahara, sepa- 
rating them from Soudan or Negroland. In the advantages of po- 
sition they surpass every other part of Africa, unless, perhaps, 
we except Egypt, communicating so easily as they do with the 
Christian nations, and thus, as it were, touching the very hem and 
border of civilization. 

Climate adds its attractions to this territory, which is removed 

* Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chap. Ivi. Vol. IX. p. 463. 

from the cold of the north and the burning heats of the tropics, 
while it is enriched with oranges, citrons, olives, figs, pomegranates, 
and luxuriant flowers. Its position and character invite a singular 
and instructive comparison. It is placed between the twenty-ninth 
and thirty-eighth degrees of north latitude, occupying nearly the 
same parallels with what are called the Slave States of our Union. 
It extends over nearly the same number of degrees of longitude with 
our Slave States, which seem to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to 
the Rio Grande. It is supposed to embrace about 700,000 square 
miles, which cannot be far from the space comprehended by what may 
be called the Barbary States of America. Nor does the comparison 
end here. Algiers, which has been the most obnoxious place in 
the Barbary States of Africa, which was branded by an indignant 
writer as "the wall of the barbarian world," and which was the chief 
seat of Christian slavery, is situated on the parallel of 36 30' north 
latitude, being the line of what is termed the Missouri Compro- 
mise, marking the "wall" of Christian slavery in our country west 
of the Mississippi. 

Other less important points of likeness between the two territo- 
ries may be observed. They are each washed to the same extent 
by the sea, with this difference, that the African States are bounded 
on the north by the Mediterranean, and on the west by the Atlan- 
tic ; whereas, the American States are bounded on the south by 
the Gulf of Mexico, and on the east by the Atlantic. But there 
are no two spaces on the surface of the globe of equal extent (and an 
examination of the map will verify what I am about to state), which 
present so many distinctive features of resemblance, whether we 
consider the parallels of latitude on which they lie, the nature of 
their boundaries, their productions, their climate, or the "peculiar 
domestic institution " which has sought shelter in both. 

I have introduced these comparisons in order to bring home to 
your minds, as near as possible, the precise position and character 
of the territory which was the seat of the evil I am about to describe. 
It might be worthy of inquiry, why Christian slavery, banished at 
last from Europe, banished also from that part of this hemisphere 
which corresponds to Europe, should have intrenched itself in 
both hemispheres between the same parallels of latitude ; so that 
Virginia, Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas should be the Amer- 
ican complement to Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Per- 
haps the common peculiarities of climate, breeding indolence, las- 

situde, and selfishness, may account for the insensibility to the 
claims of justice and humanity which seem to have characterized 
both regions. 

The cruel custom of enslaving Christians in the Barbary States 
\vas for many years the shame of modern civilization. The nations 
of Europe made various efforts, continued through successive cen- 
turies, to procure its abolition, and to rescue their subjects from 
bondage. These may be traced in the pages of history. Litera- 
ture also affords illustrations of its character which must not be neg- 
lected. At one period, the French, the Italians, and the Spanish 
borrowed most of the plots of their stories from this source.* The 
adventures of Robinson Crusoe make us familiar with one of its 
forms. He was captured by a Sallee f rover, and made a slave. 
" At this surprising change of my circumstances," he says, " from 
a merchant to a miserable slave, I was perfectly overwhelmed ; and 
now I looked back upon my father's prophetic discourse to me, that 
I should be miserable and have none to relieve me, which I thought 
was so effectually brought to pass, that I could not be worse. "| 
And Cervantes, in the story of Don Quixote, over which so many 
generations have shaken with laughter, turns aside from its genial 
current to give the narrative of a Spanish captive who had escaped 
from Algiers. The author is supposed to have drawn from his own 
experience ; for he was during five years and a half in slavery at 
Algiers, from which he was finally liberated by a ransom of about 
six hundred dollars. This inconsiderable sum of money gave 
to freedom, to his country, and to mankind the author of Don 
Quixote. || 

* Sismondi's View of the Literature of the South of Europe, Vol. III. p. 402, 
Ch. 29. 

t Sallee is a port of Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. 

t Chap. II. 

The exact amount is left uncertain both by Smollet and Thomas Roscoe in their 
lives of Cervantes. It appears that it was five hundred gold crowns of Spain, which, 
according to Navarrete, is 6770 reals (Vida de Cenantes, p. 371). The real is 
supposed to be less than ten cents. 

|| The unhappy condition of his fellow-captives seems to have been ever upper- 
most in the mind of Cervantes. He lost no opportunity of arousing his countrymen 
to efforts for their emancipation, and for the overthrow of the " peculiar institution " 
under which they groaned. This was not done, as in our day, by means of public 
addresses and meetings, but mainly through the instrumentality of the theatre. 
Shortly after his return to Spain, he pictured the various sufferings, pains, and hu- 


With these preliminary remarks, the way is now open for the 
consideration of the subject to which 1 have invited your attention. 
In unfolding it J shall naturally he led to touch upon the origin of 
slavery, and the principles which lie at its foundation, before pro- 
ceeding to the contemplation of the efforts for its abolition, and their 
final success in the Barbary States. 

I. Slavery was universally recognized by the nations of antiquity. 
It is said by Pliny, in a bold phrase, that the Lacedaemonians " in- 
vented slavery."* If this were so, the glory of Lycurgus and Le- 
onidas would not compensate for this blot upon their character. It 
is true that they recognized it, and gave it a shape of peculiar hard- 
ship. But slavery is older than Sparta. It appears in the tents of 
Abraham ; for the three hundred and eighteen servants born to him 
were slaves. f It appears in the story of Joseph, who was sold by 
his brothers to the Midianites for twenty pieces of silver.^ It ap- 

miliations of slavery in a comedy, which found much favor, though not artistic in 
its composition, entitled EL Trato de Argel, or Life in Algiers. This was followed 
by two others in the same spirit, Los Banos de A r gel, The Galleys of Algiers, and 
La Gran Sultana Dona Cattalina de Otiedo. The last act of the Eanos closes with 
the information, that this comedy " is not drawn from the imagination, but was born 
far from the regions of fiction, in the very heart of truth." The same may be said 
of the tales of The Captive in Don duixote, El Liberal Jmante, The Liberal Lov. r, 
and some parts of La Espanola Inglesa. All these are to be regarded, not merely 
as literary labors, but as charitable endeavours in the cause of human freedom. 
Lope de Vega, whom Cervantes calls "that prodigy," has employed his genius in 
the same cause, in his comedy, The Captives of Algiers, Los Cauliros de Arirel ; 
and at a later day Calderon, in his El Principe Constante, has cast a poet's glance at 
Christian slavery in Morocco. In England the story of Inkle and Yarico, by Steele, 
in the Spectator, and sonic parts of the drama of Oronooko, by Southerns, have taught 
the cruelty and injustice of enslaving our fellow-men. All these belong to what 
may be called the literature of Antislavery. 

h IS 1 at. Hist., Lib. VII. c. 57. The word slave, which enters into the languages of 
modern Europe, in its original use signified glory, and was proudly assumed as the na- 
tional designation of the races in the northeastern part of that continent, who were 
.;;u rwards degraded from the condition of conquerors to that of servitude ; Slava (laus, 
gloria) Slaronian. See Gibbon, Roman Empire, Vol . X. p. 190, c. 55, notes. In 
the lius-ian language it still signifies glory ; as Slara Rossie, Glory of Russia. Sau- 
'1 ravds, p. i:5H. Strange that the word should have undergone such a change in 
its meaning ! But its original sense may still be received by those who consider 
slavery essential to democratic institutions, and therefore a part of the true glory of 
the country. 

t Genesis xiv. 14. 

; Genesis xxxvii. ',!-'. Slavery, and even the slave-trade, have been vindicated 
by these and other texts of the Scriptures. See Bruce's Travels in Africa, Vol. II. 


pears in the poetry of Homer, who stamps it with a reprobation 
which can never be forgotten, when he says,* - 

" Jove fixed it certain, that whatever day 
Makes man a slave takes half his worth away." 

In later days it prevailed extensively in Greece, whose haughty 
people deemed themselves justified in enslaving all who were stran- 
gers to their manners and institutions. " The Greek has the right 
to be the master of the barbarian," was the sentiment of Euripides, 
one of the first of her poets, which was echoed by Aristotle, the 
greatest of her intellects.! And even Plato, in his imaginary re- 
public, the Utopia of his beautiful genius, still sanctions slavery. 
But, notwithstanding these high names, we learn from Aristotle him- 
self, that there were persons in his day pestilent Abolitionists of 
ancient Athens --who did not hesitate to maintain that liberty was 
the great law of nature, acknowledging no difference between the 
master and the slave, - - that slavery was, therefore, founded upon 
violence, and not upon right, and the authority of the master unnatu- 
ral and unjust. I am not in any way authorized to speak for any 
Antislavery society, even if this were a proper occasion ; but I 
presume that this ancient Greek morality embodies substantially 
the principles of the resolutions which are put forth at their public 
meetings, so far, at least, as they relate to slavery. 

It is true, most true, that slavery stands on force and not on right. 
It is one of the results of war, or of that barbarism in which savage 
war plays such a conspicuous part. It was supposed that to the 
victor belonged the lives of his captives, and, by consequence, that 
he might bind them in perpetual servitude. This principle, which 

p. 319. After quoting these texts, he says that he " cannot think that purchasing 
slaves is either cruel or unnatural." 

* Odyssey, Book XVII. 

t Pol., Lib. I. c. 1. 

\ Pol., Lib. I. c. 3. A Scholiast on Aristotle's Rhetoric has preserved a saying 
to this purpose of Alcidamas, the scholar of Gorgias of Leontium, " God sent 
forth all persons free; nature has made no man a slave." In conformity with 
this are the words of the good Lae Casas, when pleading before Charles the Fifth for 
the Indian races of America. " The Christian religion," he said, " is equal in its 
operation, and is accommodated to every nation on the globe. It robs no one of las 
freedom, violates none of his inherent rights, on the ground that he Is a slave ly nature, 
as pretended ; and it well becomes your Majesty to lanish so monstrous an oppres- 
sion from your kingdoms in the beginning of your reign, that the Almighty may 
make it long and glorious."- -Prescott's Conquest of Mexico, Vol. I. p. 379. 



lias been the foundation of slavery in all ages, is adapted to the 
rudest conditions of society only, and is wholly inconsistent with a 
period of real refinement, humanity, and justice. It is true that it 
was recognized by Greece ; but her civilization, brilliant, to the ex- 
ternal view, as the immortal sculptures of the Parthenon, was, like 
that stately temple, dark and cheerless within. 

Slavery extended, with new rigors, under the military dominion 
of Rome. The spirit of freedom which animated the days of the 
republic was of that selfish and intolerant character which accu- 
mulated privileges upon the Roman citizen, while it heeded little 
the rights of others. But, unlike the Greeks, the Romans admit- 
ted in theory that all men were originally free by the law of nature, 
and they ascribed the power of masters over slaves, not to any al- 
leged diversities in the races of men, but to the will of society.* 
The constant triumphs of their arms were signalized by reducing to 
captivity large crowds of the subjugated people. Paulus Emilius re- 
turned from Macedonia with an uncounted train of slaves, composed 
of persons in every department of life ; and in the camp of Lucullus, 
in Pontus, slaves were sold for four drachmae, or seventy-two cents, 
a head. Terence and Pha>drus, Roman slaves, have, however, 
taught us that genius is not always quenched even by a degrading 
captivity ; while the writings of Cato the Censor, one of the most vir- 
tuous slaveholders in history, show the hardening influence of a sys- 
tem which treats human beings as cattle. " Let the husbandman," 
says Cato, " sell his old oxen, his sickly cattle, his sickly sheep, his 
wool, his hides, his old wagon, his old implements, his old slave, and 
his diseased slave. He sliould be a seller, rather than a buyer." f 

The cruelty and inhumanity which flourished in the republic, pro- 
fessing freedom, found a natural home under the emperors, the 
high-priests of despotism. Wealth increased, and with it the num- 
ber of slaves. Some persons are said to have owned as many as 
ten thousand, while extravagant prices were often paid, according to 
the fancy or caprice of the purchaser, j" 

It is easy to believe that slavery, which prevailed to such an ex- 

* Institute I. til 

t " Vcridat Loves \ctulns, ::rinriii;i ddicula, ovcs dcliculas, lanam, pellcs, plostrum 
v< tus, ferramcnta vetera, .( mini senem, sercum morbosum, et si quid aliud supersit, 
\ rmlat. Patrcm familias -a mlunm, noti cmacem cssc oportet." DC Re Rustica, 2. 

: .Martial mentions a handsome youth who cost as much as four hundred sestcrtia, 
16,000. I'|i. Ill G2. 


tent in Greece and Rome, must have existed in Africa. It was 
here, indeed, that it found a peculiar home. If we trace the pro- 
gress of that unfortunate continent, from those distant days of fable 
when Jupiter 

" did not disdain to grace 
The feast of ^Ethiopia's blameless race," ' 

the merchandise in slaves will be found to have contributed to the 
abolition of two hateful customs, once universal in Africa, --the eat- 
ing of captives, and the sacrificing of them to idols. Thus it is, that, 
in the march of civilization, even the barbarism of slavery is an im- 
portant stage of human progress. 

In the early periods of modern Europe, slavery was a general 
custom, which has only gradually yielded to the humane influences 
of Christianity, f It was fair-haired Saxon slaves from England 
that arrested the attention of Pope Gregory in the markets of 
Rome. As late as the thirteenth century, it was the custom on the 
continent of Europe to treat all captives taken in war as slaves. 
Of this Othello is a sufficient witness, when he speaks 

" Of being taken by the insolent foe 
And sold to slavery ; of my redemption thence."* 

* Iliad, Book I. 

t It appears from William of Malmesbury (Book II. ch. 20, Life of St. Wolston), 
that there was a cruel slave-trade in whites which once prevailed in England. 
" Directly opposite," he says, " to the Irish coast, there is a seaport called Bristol, 
the inhabitants of which frequently sail into Ireland to sell those people whom they 
had bought up throughout England. They exposed to sale maidens in a state of 
pregnancy, with whom they made a sort of mock marriages. There you might see 
with grief, fastened together by ropes, whole rows of wretched beings of both sexes, 
of elegant forms, and in the very bloom of youth, a sight sufficient to excite pity 
even in barbarians, daily offered for sale to the first purchaser. Accursed deed ! 
Infamous disgrace ! that men, acting in a manner which brutal instinct alone would 
have forbidden, should sell into slavery their relations, nay, even their own off- 
spring." When Ireland, in 1172, was afflicted with public calamities, the people, 
but chief y the clergy (pr&cipue clericorum) began to reproach themselves, believing 
that these evils were brought upon their country, because, contrary to the right of 
Christian freedom, they had bought as slaves the English boys brought to them by 
the merchants; wherefore, the English slaves were allowed, throughout all Ire- 
land, by the consent of all, to depart in freedom. (Quod olim Jlnglorum pueros a mer- 
catoribus ad se advectos in servitutem cmerant contra jus Christiana libertatis ; wide, 
cum omnium consensu, per totam Hibemiam, servi Angli abire permissi sunt.) 
Chronica Hiberniee, or the Annals of Phil. Flatesbury in the Cottonian Library, Do- 
mitian A. XVIII. 10, quoted in Stephens on West India Slavery, Vol. I. p. 6. 

t Drayton's picture of the French, in his poem of The Battle of Agincourt, may 
also be quoted : 


It was also held lawful to enslave all infidels, or persons who did not 
receive the Christian faith. The early common law of England 
doomed heretics to the stake ; the Catholic Inquisition did the 
same ; and the Laws of Oleron, the maritime code of the Middle 
Ages, treated them " as dogs," to be attacked and despoiled by all 
true believers.* It appears that Philip le Bel of France, in 1296, 
presented his brother Charles, Count of Valois, with a Jew, and 
that he paid Pierre de Chambly three hundred livres for another 
Jew. f And the statutes of Florence, boastful of freedom, as late 
as 1415, expressly allowed republican citizens to hold slaves who 
were not of the Christian faith-! And still further, the comedies of 
Moliere, depicting Italian usages not remote from his own day, show 
that at Naples and Messina even Christian women continued to be 
sold as slaves. 

Jt is not astonishing, then, that the barbarous states of Barbary 
a part of Africa, the great womb of slavery, -- professing Ma- 
hometanism, which not only recognizes slavery, but expressly ordains 
" chains and collars " to infidels || should continue and perpetu- 
ate the traffic in slaves, particularly in those who did not receive 
the faith of their Prophet. In the duty of constant war upon unbe- 
lievers, and in asserting a right to the services or ransom of their 
captives, they followed the lessons of Christians themselves. 

It is not difficult, then, to account for the origin of the cruel cus- 
tom now under consideration. Its history forms our next topic. 

II. The Barbary States, after the decline of the Arabian power, 
seem to be enveloped in darkness, rendered more palpable by the 
increasing light among the Christian nations. As we behold them 
in the fifteenth century, in the twilight of European civilization, they 
appear to be little more than scattered bands of robbers and pirates, 

" For knots of cord to every ti.\\ n they send, 
The captived I'.n^'li.-li that they caught to bind; 
For to j/i r/xtliiil tliirtry tin ij i/itftul 
Those (tin/ i/liri' tliti/ on tltefnli/ t/unild find." 
* Prescott's Conqui M c.f .Mexico, Vol. II. p. 30. 

t Encycl[n'tlit .'Irilnnliijiif (Juris] It nee), Art. I'.-iltirnge. 

I "Q,ui non sum Catholica. lid. i el Christiana?." See De V Abolition de I Escla- 
vage Ancien en Ocriilt >if, jmr Hint, p. -lid ; a work crowned with a gold medal by the 
Institute of France, hut \vhich will he read with some disappointment. 
L'Etourdi; Le Sicilien; L'.Jrare. 
|| Koran, Chap. 7(. 


the land-rats and water-rats of Shylock, leading the lives of 
Ishmaelites. Algiers is described by an early writer as " a den of 
sturdy thieves, formed into a body, by which, after a tumultuary 
sort, they govern."* The habit of enslaving the prisoners they 
took in war and in their piratical depredations aroused against them 
the sacred animosities of Christendom. Ferdinand the Catholic, 
after the conquest of Granada, and while the boundless discoveries 
of Columbus, giving to Castile and Aragon a new world, still occu- 
pied his mind, found time to direct an expedition into Africa, which 
was placed under the military command of that great ecclesiastic, 
Cardinal Ximenes. It is recorded that this valiant soldier of the 
Church, on effecting the conquest of Oran, in 1509, had the inex- 
pressible satisfaction of liberating upwards of three hundred Chris- 
tian slaves, f 

The progress of the Spanish arms induced the government of 
Algiers to invoke assistance from abroad. At this time, two broth- 
ers, Home and Hayradin, the sons of a potter in the island of Les- 
bos, had become famous as corsairs. In an age when the sword of 
an adventurer often carved a higher fortune than could be earned by 
lawful exertion, they were dreaded for their abilities, their hardihood, 
and their power. To them Algiers turned for aid. The corsairs 
left the sea to sway the land ; or rather, with amphibious robbery, 
they took possession of Algiers and Tunis, while they continued to 
scourge the sea. The name of Barbarossa, by which they were 
known to Christians, is terrible in modern history. | 

With pirate ships they infested the seas, and spread their ravages 
along the coasts of Spain and Italy, until Charles the Fifth was arous- 
ed to undertake their overthrow. The various strength of his broad 
dominions was rallied in this new crusade. " If the enthusiasm," 
says Sismondi, " which armed the Christians at an earlier day was 
nearly extinct, another sentiment, more rational and legitimate, now 
united the vows of Europe. The contest was no longer to recon- 
quer the tomb of Christ, but to defend the civilization, the liberty, 
the lives, of Christians." A stanch body of infantry from Ger- 

* Harleian Miscellany, Vol. V. p. 522, .# Discourse concerning Tangiers. 

t Prescott's History of Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol. III. p. 308; Purchas's Pil- 
grims, Vol. II. p. 813. 

\ Robertson's Charles the Fifth, Book V. ; Topographia y Historia de Argd par 
Fra Haedo ;'_' Epitome de los Reyes de Jlrgrl. 

Sismondi,' Histoire des Franrais, Tom. XVII. p. 102. 


many, the veterans of Spain and Italy, the flower of the Spanish 
nobility, the knights of the Order of Malta, with a fleet of near five 
hundred vessels, contributed by Italy, Portugal, and even distant 
Holland, under the command of Andrew Doria, the great sea-officer 
of the age, -- the whole being under the immediate eye of the Em- 
peror himself, with the countenance and benediction of the Pope, 
and composing one of the most complete armaments which the 
world had then seen, were directed upon Tunis. Barbarossa op- 
posed them bravely, but with unequal forces. While slowly yield- 
ing to the attack from without, his defeat was hastened by an un- 
expected insurrection within. In the citadel were a number of 
Christian slaves, who, in the assertion of the rights of freedom, ob- 
tained a bloody emancipation, and turned the artillery against their 
former masters. The town yielded to the Emperor, whose soldiers 
soon surrendered themselves to the inhuman excesses of war. The 
blood of thirty thousand of the innocent inhabitants reddened his vic- 
tory. Amidst this scene of horror there was but one spectacle that 
afforded him any satisfaction. Ten thousand Christian slaves met 
him as he entered the town, and, falling on their knees, thanked him 
as their deliverer.* 

In the treaty of peace which ensued, it was expressly stipulated 
on the part of Tunis, that all Christian slaves, of whatever nation, 
should be set at liberty without ransom, and that no subject of the 
Kmperor should for the future be detained in slavery. f 

The apparent generosity of this undertaking, the magnificence 
with which it was conducted, and the success with which it was 
crowned, drew to the Emperor the homage of his age beyond any 
other event of his reign. Twenty thousand slaves, freed by his 
arms or by the treaty, diffused through Europe the praise of his 
name. It is probable that the Emperor was governed in this expe- 
dition by motives little higher than those of vulgar ambition and 
fame; but the results with which it was crowned, in the emancipa- 
tion of so many of his fellow-Christians from cruel chains, place him 
with Cardinal Ximenes among the earliest Abolitionists of modern 

This was in 1535. In 1517, only a few short years before, he 
had granted to one of his Flemish courtiers the exclusive privilege 
of importing four thousand blacks from Africa into the West Indies. 

* Robertson's Charles tin- 1'iltli, Book V. t Ibid. 


Perhaps no single order in history has had such disastrous conse- 
quences.* The Fleming sold his privilege to some Genoese mer- 
chants, who organized a systematic traffic in slaves between Africa 
and America. Thus, while the Emperor levied a mighty force to 
check the piracies of Barbarossa, and to procure the abolition of 
Christian slavery in Tunis, with a wretched inconsistency, he laid 
the corner-stone of a new system of slavery in America, in compar- 
ison with which what he sought to suppress was trivial and fugitive. 

Elated by the conquest of Tunis, and filled with the ambition of 
subduing all the Barbary States, and of extirpating the " peculiar in- 
stitution" of Christian slavery, the Emperor in 1541 directed an ex- 
pedition of singular grandeur against Algiers. The Pope again 
joined his influence to the martial array. But nature proved stronger 
than the Pope and Emperor. A sudden storm shattered his proud 
fleet, within sight of Algiers, and he was obliged to return to Spain, 
discomfited, bearing none of those trophies of emancipation by 
which his former expedition had been crowned. f 

The power of the Barbary States was now at its height. Their 
corsairs became the scourge of Christendom, while their much- 
dreaded system of slavery assumed a front of new terrors. Their 
ravages were not confined to the Mediterranean. They penetrat- 
ed the ocean, and pressed even to the Straits of Dover and St. 
George's Channel. From the chalky cliffs of England, and even 
from the distant western coasts of Ireland, the inhabitants were 
swept into cruel captivity. ^ The English government were at 
last aroused to efforts to check these atrocities. Tn 1620, a fleet of 
eighteen ships, under the command of Sir Robert Mansel, the Vice- 
Admiral of England, was despatched against Algiers. It returned 

* Mr. Clarkson says that Charles lived long enough to repent what he had thus 
inconsiderately done. History of the Abolition of the Slave-Trade, Vol. I. p. 38. 

t Robertson's Charles the Fifth, Book VI.; Harleian Miscellany, Vol. IV., p. 504, 
"A lamentable and piteous Treatise, verye necessarye for euerie Christen Manne 
to reade [or the Expedition of Charles the Fifth], truly and dylygently translated out 
of Latyn into Frenche, and out of Frenche into English, 1542." 

t Guizot's History of the English Revolution, Vol. I. p. CO, Book II.; Strafford's 
Letters and Despatches, Vol. I. p. 68. It was the boast of Sir George Radclifi'e, the 
friend of the Earl, in the biographical sketch of him attached to his letters and de- 
spatches, that " he secured the seas from piracies, so as only one ship was lost at his 
first coming [as Lord Lieutenant to Ireland], and no more all his time ; whereof 
every year before, not only several ships and goods were lost by robbery at sea, but 
also Turkish men-of-war usually landed and took prey of men to be, made slaves." 
Ibid., Vol. II. p. 434. 


without being able, in the language of the times, " to destroy those 
hellish pirates," though it obtained the liberation of forty " poor cap- 
tives, which they pretended was all they had in the towne." " The 
efforts of the English fleet were aided," says Purchas, " by a Chris- 
tian captive, which did swim from the towne to the ships."* It is 
not in this respect only that this expedition calls to rnind that of 
Charles the Fifth, which received such important assistance from 
the rebel slaves ; we also observe a similar inconsistency of con- 
duct in the government which directed it. It was in the year 1020, 
dear to all the descendants of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock 
as an epoch of freedom, while an English fleet was seeking the 
emancipation of Englishmen held in bondage by Algiers, that black 
slaves were first introduced into the English colonies of North 
America ! f 

The expedition against Algiers was followed, in 1037, by another, 
under the command of Captain Rainsborough, against Sallee, in 
Morocco. At his approach, the Moors sold a_thousand of their cap- 
tives, British subjects, to Tunis and Algiers. Intestine feud aided 
the fleet, and the cause of emancipation speedily triumphed. J Two 
hundred and ninety British captives were surrendered, and a promise 
was extorted from the government of Sallee to redeem the thousand 
captives who had been sold away to Tunis and Algiers. An am- 
bassador from the king of Morocco shortly afterwards visited Eng- 
land, and on his way to his audience at court was attended through 
the streets of London " by four Barbary horses led along in rich ca- 
parisons, and richer saddles, with bridles set with stones ; also some 
hawks ; many of tlie captives whom he brought over going along 
afoot clad in white.'" 

The success of this enterprise seems to have been hailed in Eng- 
land with singular joy. It inspired the Muse of Waller, || and filled 

* Pun-lias's Pilgrims, pp. 885, SSG ; Southey's Naval History of England, Vol. 
V. pp. 60 - (>'-\. '1'ln re appears to have been a publication especially relating to this 
expedition, entitled, " Algiers Voyage, in a Journal! or briefe Repertory of all Oc- 
ciirrents liapning in the Fleet of Ships sent out by the Kinge his Most Excellent 
Majestie, as well against the Pirates of Algiers as others. London. 1621. 4to." 

t Bancroft's History of the Tinted States, Vol. I. p. 187. 

* They al-o uere aided hv " some Christians that wore slaves ashore, who stole 
away out of the town and eaine swimming aboard." Osborne's Voyages, Journal 
of the Sallee Fleet, Vol. II. p. 4'JIJ. Sue also Mrs. Macaulay's History of England, 
Vol. II. Chap. 4. p. iil:>. 

Stafford's Letters and Despatches, Vol. II. pp. 86, 116, 129. 

|| Among his poems is one " On the Taking of Malice, " in which he describes the 
\\~\i of the aml>;'.s>ador of Morocco with presents; 


with exultation the dark mind of Strafford. " Sallee, the town, is 
taken," said Archbishop Laud in a letter to the latter, in Ireland, 
" and all the captives at Sallee and Morocco delivered ; as many, 
our merchants say, as, according to the price, of the markets, come to 
ten thousand pounds, at least." * Strafford saw in the popularity of 
this triumph a fresh opportunity to commend the tyrannical designs 
of Charles the First. " This action of Sallee," he wrote in reply 
to the archbishop, " I assure you is full of honor, and should, me- 
thinks, help much towards the ready cheerful payment of the ship- 
ping monies." f 

The coasts of England were now protected ; but her subjects at 
sea continued to be the prey of Algerine corsairs. The Jacobite 
historian Carte says, | " They carried their English captives to 
France, drove them in chains overland to Marseilles, to ship them 
thence with greater safety for slaves to Algiers." The increasing 
troubles which distracted and finally cut short the reign of Charles 
the First did not divert attention from the sorrows of the English- 
men who had fallen into the hands of these Mahometan slave-driv- 
ers. At the very height of the struggles between the king and 
Parliament, an earnest voice was raised in behalf of these fellow- 
Christians in bonds. There are publications pleading their cause, 
bearing dale in 1640, 1642, and 1647. || The overthrow of such 
an odious oppression formed a worthy object for the imperial energies 

" Hither he sends the chief among his peers, 
Who in his bark proportioned presents bears, 
To the renowned for piety and force, 
Poor captives manumised and matchless horse." 

* Strafford's Letters and Despatches, Vol. II. p. 131. 

t Ibid., p. 138. 

t Carte's History of England, Vol. IV. p. 231, Book 22. 

Waller, who was an orator as well as poet, in a speech in Parliament in 1641, 
said, " By the many petitions which we receive from the wives of those miserable 
captives at Algiers (being between four and five thousand of our countrymen) it does 
too evidently appear, that to make us slaves at home is not the way to keep us from 
being made slaves abroad." - Waller's Works, p. 271. 

|| Compassion towards Captives, urged in Three Sermons, on Heb. xiii. 3, by 
Charles Fitz-Geoffrey, 1642. Libertas ; or Relief to the English Captives in Al- 
giers, by Henry Robinson, London, 1647. Letters relating to the Redemption of the 
Captive in Algiers, at Tunis, by Edward Cason Laud, 1647. A Relation of Seven 
Years' Slavery under the Turks of Algiers, suffered by an English Captive Merchant, 
with a Description of the Sufferings of the Miserable Captives under that Merciless 
Tyranny, by Francis Knight, London, 1640. The latter publication is preserved in 
the Collection of Voyages and Travels by Osborne, Vol. II. pp. 465-489. 




of Cromwell ; and in 1655, - - when, amidst the amazement of Eu- 
rope, the English sovereignty had already settled upon his Atlante- 
an shoulders, -- he directed a navy of thirty ships, under Admiral 
Blake, into the Mediterranean. This was the most powerful Eng- 
lish force which had sailed into that sea since the Crusades.* Tu- 
nis and Algiers were humbled ; all British captives were set at 
liberty ; and the Protector, in his remarkable speech at the opening 
of Parliament in the next year, announced peace with the " pro- 
fane " nations in that region, f 

Perhaps no single circumstance gives a higher impression of the 
vigilance with which the Protector guarded his subjects, than this ef- 
fort. + His vigorous sway was followed by the effeminate tyranny 
of Charles the Second, whose restoration was inaugurated by an un- 
successful expedition under Lord Sandwich against Algiers. This 
was soon followed by another under Admiral Lawson, with a more 
favorable result. By a treaty bearing date May 3d, 1G62, this 
piratical government expressly stipulated, "that all subjects of the 
king of Great Britain, now slaves in Algiers, or any of the territo- 
ries thereof, be set at liberty, and released, upon paying the price they 
were first sold for in the market ; and for the time to come no sub- 
jects of his Majesty shall be bought or sold, or made slaves of, in 
Algiers or its territories." || Other expeditions ensued, and other 

* Hume says (Vol. VII. p. X>.V.I, Chap. LXI.), " No English fleet, except during 
the Crusades, hud iTir before sailed in those seas.'" lie forgot, or was not aware of, 
tlie e\|n .Inioii of Sir John Manse), which has hem already referred to (//////, p. l.~>), 
the expediency (if which was elaborately debated ill the Privy Council as early as 
llil?, three years before it was finally undertaken. Sec Sou'Jiey's .Naval History of 
England, Vol. V. pp. UD- I",?. 

t "And .so likewise with the Portugal, with Franco, the Mediterranean Sea ; both 
these States ; both Christian and profane; the .Mahometan; you have peace \\iih 
Ihemall." - Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Cromwell, Vol II. p. ^r>, Part IX. 

Speech V. 

<.'< ueral I51ak," said one of the foreign agents of i'o\ , nmieiit, " has ratifyed the 
articles of peace at Argier, and included therein Scotch, Irish, Jarnsey and Garn- 
meii, and all others the Protector's subjects. He has lykewys n deemed from 
thence al sin-h a s wer captives ther. Several Dutch raptices sicam aboard the 
and so rsrajtc tlinjr r/ijiticity." - Thurloe's State Papers, Vol. III. p. .VJ7. 
U Her, in his p:uieg\ric on the Protector, has the fallowing verses :- 
" Fame, swifter than your winged navy, flies 
Through every land that near tin- ocean lies, 
S.umlmi: \our name, and telling dreadful news 
To all that, piracy and rapine u-e." 
Kapin's History of England, Vol. II. pp. 858, -i.l 

des Trnit>- ,U />;.,, T..,,,. IV. p. !::. 


treaties in 1664, 1672, 1682, and 1686, -- showing, by their con- 
stant recurrence, the little impression produced upon the minds of 
these barbarians.* Insensible to justice and freedom, they naturally 
held in slight regard the obligations of fidelity to any stipulations 
in restraint of robbery and slaveholding. 

Complaints continued to be made, during a long succession of 
years, of the sufferings of English captives;! and many American 
families, even in those early days of the Colonies, \vhile they were 
still struggling with the savage Indians, were compelled to mourn the 
hapless fate of brothers, fathers, and husbands, doomed to Algerine 
slavery.:}: But during all this time, the slavery of blacks, who were 
transported to the Colonies under English colors, still continued. 

* Ibid., pp. 307, 476, 703, 756. 

t The feelings of an earnest soul found expression in The Gentleman's Magazine 
for 1748, Vol. XVIII. p. 531 : - 

" O how can Britain's sons regardless hear 
The prayers, sighs, groans (immortal infamy!) 
Of fellow-Britons, with oppression sunk, 
In bitterness of soul demanding aid, 
Calling on Britain, their dear native land, 
The land of liberty ! " 

t In the MS. diary of the Rev. John Eliot (the first minister of Roxbury, and the 
apostle to the Indians) prefixed to the first volume of the Roxbury Church Records 
(Rev. Dr. Putnam's church) are the following words : - 

" 1673, 3m. [May.] Tidings concerning the redemption of Mr. Foster of Charles- 
town from captivity, after neer 18 months' slavery, and his return to London, his sonn 
William coming home to his mother at Charlestown, having been his fath rs com- 
panion in bondage." 

" 1G73, Id. 10m. [Dec. 1.] Captain Foster returned home after his captivity.'' 
This was " William Foster, of Charkstnwn, navigator," who " died at Charlfs- 
town, May 8, 1698, aged about 80." He was 54 or 55 years old when taken cap- 
tive in 1671 . 

It appears by the MSS. of the late Hon. William Winthrop of Cambridge, and by 
the probate records and files of the county of Middlesex (Mass.), that Dr. Daniel 
Mason the earliest graduate by the name of Mason at Harvard College sailed as 
the physician and surgeon of Captain James Ellson, from Charlestown, about 1678 
or 1679, in a ship which was taken by a Barbary corsair and carried into Algiers, 
whence these persons and others with them never returned. They probably died in 
captivity. In a testamentary letter addressed to his wife, and dated at Algiers, June 
30, 1679, Captain Ellson desired her to redeem out of captivity Asher Bearstow (of 
Watertown), and Richard Ellson, his brother, and to give to his doctor, Daniel Ma- 
son, 5. (Middlesex Probate Files.) 

William Harris, one of the associates of Roger Williams in the first planting of 
Providence, when in the sixty-eighth year of his age, undertook a voyage to Eng- 
land, to defend the title of the Petuxet claimants, and to obtain from the king exe- 
cution of former decrees in their favor. He sailed from Boston in the ship Unity, 


unwhile, France had plied Algiers \\ith embassies and bom- 
bardments. It appears that in 1635 there were three hundred and 
forty-seven Frenchmen captives there. Monsieur de Sampson was 
sent on an unsuccessful mission, to procure their liberation. They 
were offered to him " for the price they were sold for in the mar- 
ket "; but this he refused to pay.* Next came, in 1G37, Mon- 
sieur de Mantel, who was called " that noble captain, and glory of 
the French nation," "with fifteen of his king's ships, and a com- 
mission to enfranchise the French slaves." But he also returned, 
leaving his countrymen still in captivity. f Treaties, however, fol- 
lowed at a later day, which were hastily concluded, and abruptly 
broken, till at last Louis the Fourteenth did for France what Crom- 
well had done for England. In 1684, Algiers, being twice bombard- 
ed | by his command, sent deputies to sue for peace, and to surren- 

"William Condy master. The vessel was taken by a Barbary corsair, Jan. 24th, l(!?!i, 
and was carried to Algiers, where Mr. Harris with the others, on the 23d or 24th of 
February, was sold into slavery. After remaining in this condition more than a 
year, his redemption was obtained at the cost of $ 1200, " the price of a good farm," 
as is stated in some of his papers. The fate of his companions i- unknou n. 

The following extract from the MS. journal of Chief Justice Samuel Sewall refers 
to the capti\ ity of still another American : 

" 1714 - 5, Jan. \0th. JMIOWN day. Mr. Gee sends his son to invite me to diner 
to-niorro\v at his lions. Tuesday, Jan. 11 th. Went thither, where din'd Dr. In- 
crease and Dr. Cotton Mather, Mr. Bridge, Mr. Wadsworth, Mr. Thornton [Timo- 
thy], Mr. Jno. Marion, Deacon Barnard, Mr. Ruck, Capt. Martvn, Mr. Hallawell. 
It seems it was in remembrance of his landing this day at Boston, after liis Algerine 
captivity. Had a good treat. Dr. Cotton Mather, in returning thanks. ver\ well 
comprised nian\ weighty things very pertinently." 

It is to be hoped that among the weighty things very pertinently comprised by 
Cotton Mather in returning thanks was a condemnation of slavery. He could not 
then have shrunk from giving utterance to that faith which preaches deliverance to 
the captive. 

I am indebted lor these notices to Dr. Harris, the Librarian of Harvard University, 
and Mr. J. Wingate Thornton, of the Boston bar, both of whom have intended 
ilieniM-K e.-. milch iii our early history. It is probable that other cases might be 
traced, hen and in other parts of the country. 

' ()-!.., i IH- \o\ages, Vol. II. p. 4G8; Relation of Seven Years' Slavery in Al- 
^H rs. 

t Ibid., p. 470. 

* In the melancholy hi>tory of war, this is noticed as the earliest instance of the 
bomlianlnii nt of a town. Sismondi, who never fails to regard the past in the light of 
hnmaiiiiN, n marks, that "Louis the Fourteenth was the first to put in practice the 
atrocion- method, m-wlv in\ en ted, of bombarding towns, of burning them, not to 
lake ill' in, lnit to dotroy them, of attacking, nut furlifirnLions, but private houses, 
nut soldiers, but [mifcullc inhabitants, women and children, and of confounding 


der all her Christian slaves. Tunis and Tripoli made the same 
submission. Voltaire says, with his accustomed point, that, by this 
transaction, the French became respected on the coast of Africa, 
where they had before been known only by the slaves which the 
barbarians there had made.* 

A story is told f which shows the little interest taken by the 
French in the cause of general freedom, even while engaged in se- 
curing the emancipation of their own countrymen. As an officer of 
the triumphant fleet received the Christian slaves who were brought 
to him and liberated, he observed among them many English, who, 
in the vain pride of nationality, maintained that they were set at lib- 
erty out of regard to the king of England. The Frenchman at once 
summoned the Algerines, and, returning the English captives into 
their hands, said, --" These people pretend that they have been 
delivered in the name of their monarch ; mine does not offer them 
his protection. I return them to you. It is for you to show what 
you owe to the king of England." The miserable captives were 
again hurried to prolonged slavery. The power of Charles the 
Second was as impotent in their behalf as was the sense of justice 
and humanity in the French officer and the Algerine government. 

Time would fail, even if the materials were at hand, to develop 
the course of other efforts of France against the Barbary States. 
Nor can I dwell upon the determined conduct of Holland, one of 
whose greatest naval commanders, Admiral de Ruyter, in 1661, en- 
forced at Algiers the emancipation of several hundred Christian 

Thus far I have chiefly followed the history of military expedi- 
tions against the Barbary States. But peaceful measures were often 
employed to procure the redemption of slaves ; and money accom- 
plished what was vainly attempted by the sword. It was the habit 
of the European governments, in furtherance of this object, to send 

thousands of private crimes, each one of which would cause horror, in one great pub- 
lic crime, one great disaster, ichich he regarded only as one of the catastrophes of 
war." Sismondi, Histoire des Fran^ais, Tom. XXV. p. 452. How much of this 
is justly applicable to the recent most wretched murder of women and children by 
the forces of the United States at Vera Cruz ! Algiers was bombarded in the cause 
of freedom; Vera Cruz, to extend slavery. 

* Sitcle de Louis XIV., ch. 14. 

t Ibid. 

} Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XVIII. p. 441. 


missions to the different states. These sometimes had a formal di- 
plomatic organization ; sometimes they consisted of fathers of the 
Church, who held it a sacred office, to which they were especially 
called, to open the prison-doors and let the captives go free.* 
It was hy the intervention of the superiors of the Order of the Holy 
Trinity, who were despatched to Algiers by Philip the Second of 
Spain, that Cervantes obtained his freedom by ransom, in 1579.f 
The expeditions of commerce often served to promote similar de- 
signs of charity, and the English government, forgetting or distrust- 
ing all their sleeping thunder, sometimes condescended to barter arti- 
cles of merchandise for the liberty of their subjects.:}: 

Private efforts often secured the freedom of slaves. Friends at 
home naturally exerted themselves in their behalf; and many fami- 
lies were straitened by generous contributions to this sacred purpose. 
It appears that in 1642 there were four French brothers ransomed 
at the price of six thousand dollars. At this same period, the sum 
exacted for the poorest Spaniards was " a thousand shillings," while 
Genoese, " if under twenty-two years of age, were freed for a hun- 
dred pounds sterling." These charitable endeavours were aided 
by the cooperation of benevolent persons. As early as the thir- 

* It is to the relations of several of these missions, that we are indebted for works 
of interest on the Barbary States. Busnot, Histoire du Rkgnc <// Moult ij L<!<m<iel, a 

ni, 171-1. The author was a father of the Holy Trinity, \\lio went, accompanied 
by some other monks, to Morocco, for the redemption of French capthes. Jin de 
In I 'mil, 1,'rlii/ian, en Forme de Journal, du Voyage pour la Redemption ilcn Cn/iti /'.-, ir 
fa //.-;, 17','."). Voyage to Barbary for the Redemption of (.'<i[itiri-g in 17'JO, //// tlir .!,'</- 
lliiirin-Ti inilin'nni Fathers, London, 17135. This is a translation from the French. 
l!rnit/i waitc'y 1 [/.-story of the Revolution.* of tlir I'mjiin <if Morocco, London, I ?'J! I. This 
contains a journal of the mission of John Russel, F.sq., from the English government 
in Morocco, to obtain the. liberation of slaves. The expedition seems to have been 
thoroughly equipped. "The Moors,'' says the author, "find plen;\ of r\ery thing 
hut drink, hut for that the F.nglish generally take care of themselves ; fiir. besides 
chairs, tattles, knives, fork-, (dales, table-linen, iVc., we had two or three mules, 
loaded with wine, brandy, sugar, and utensils fir pinn-h." - p. 82. 

t Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, p. 43. 

{ "The following goods, designed as a present from his .M.ij. -i\ to the Dey of Al- 

, to redeem near one hundred Fujrlish captives lately taken, were entered at the 

i U-! <iiii -house, viz., 20 (pieces of broadcloth, '-' pieces of brocade, 2 piece- of >il\ er 

tabbv, I piece of gi-'en damask, - pit C( s nt Holland. Hi pieces of cambric, a gold re- 

(.. ;i!niL' \\atch, -1 silver do., -!!) pounds of tea, 300 of loaf-sugar, 5 fuzees, ~> pair of 
pistols, an escrntoire, > clock-, and a box oft Gent. Mag., Vol. IV. p. 104 


<>-!,onic's Voyages, Vol. II. p. -Hi); Relation of Seven Years' Slavery in Al- 


teenth century, the Society of the Fathers of Redemption was found- 
ed, under the sanction of Innocent the Third, expressly for the ran- 
som of Christian slaves from infidels.* In Spain annual contribu- 
tions were taken for this purpose ; and as late as 1748, we meet 
with a proposition in England " to establish a society to carry on the 
truly charitable design of emancipating " sixty-four Englishmen, in 
slavery in Morocco. f Cervantes confesses his gratitude to the 
Society of Redemption^ and none can fail to bless the authors of 
that institution of beneficence, the harbinger of others whose 
mission is still unfinished. An early Spanish historian, recounting 
the origin of this Society, which was said to have been suggested 
by an angel in the sky, clothed in resplendent light, holding a Chris- 
tian captive in his right hand and a Moor in the left, declares that 
it was not the work of men, but of the great God alone. And he 
dwells on the glory of their lives, as surpassing far that of a Roman 
triumph ; for they share the name as well as the labors of the Re- 
deemer of the world, to whose spirit they are the heirs, and to 
whose works they are the successors. " Lucullus," he says, affirm- 
ed, " that it were better to liberate a single Roman from the hands 
of the enemy, than to gain all their wealth ; but how much greater 
the gain, more excellent the glory, and more than human is it to re- 
deem a captive ! For whosoever redeems him not only liberates 
him from one death, but from death in a thousand ways, and those 
ever present, and also from a thousand afflictions, a thousand mis- 
eries, a thousand torments and fearful travails, more cruel than death 
itself." I) 

War and ransom, however, were not the only agents in the eman- 
cipation of the Christian slaves in the Barbary States. It is not to 
be supposed that they endured their lot without efforts to escape from 
its hardships. 

" Since the first moment they put on my chains, 
I 've thought on nothing but the weight of them, 
And how to throw them off." 

These are the words of a slave in the play ; H but they express 

* Biot, De VAlolition de VEsdavage Ancien, p. 437. 

I Gentleman's Mag., Vol. XVIII. p. 413. 

t Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, p. 50. See his story of EspaTiola Inglesa. 

Haedo, Historia de Argel, pp. 142-144 ; Dialogo I. de la Captiudad. 

|| Ibid., pp. 141, 142. 

IT Oronooko, Act III. Sc. I. It is not strange that the antislavery character of 


the natural sentiments of all who have intelligence sufficient to ap- 
preciate the great boon of freedom. " Thanks be to God," says 
the captive in Don Quixote, " for the great mercies bestowed upon 
me ; for, in my opinion, there is no happiness on earth equal to that 
of liberty regained."* The history of Algiers abounds in well-au- 
thenticated examples of conspiracy against the government by Chris- 
tian slaves. So strong was the passion for freedom ! In 1531 and 
1559, two different plans were matured, which promised for a while 
entire success. The slaves were numerous ; they had supplied them- 
selves with arms, and keys had been forged with which to open the 
prisons ; but their plot was revealed by one of their own number to 
the Dey, who doomed the conspirators to the bastinado and the stake. 
Cervantes, during his captivity, nothing daunted by these disappoint- 
ed efforts, and the terrible vengeance which awaited them, conceiv- 
ed the plan of a general rising of the Christian slaves, to secure 
their freedom by the overthrow of the Algerine power, and the sur- 
render of the city to the Spanish crown. This was in the spirit of 
the sentiment which he has expressed in his writings, that " for lib- 
erty we ought to risk life itself, slavery being the greatest evil that 
can fall to the lot of man." f As late as 1763, we find mention of 
a similar rising or conspiracy. " Last month," says a journal of 
high authority, | " the Christian slaves at Algiers, to the number of 

tliis play rendered it an unpopular performance at Liverpool, while the merchants of 
that port were concerned in the slave-trade. 

* Don Huixote, Part I. Book IV. Chap. 12. The same sentiment is expressed 
by Thomas Phelps, in his account of his captivity ami e-i ape fmm Machiness, in 
Morocco, in 1685. "Since my escape," he says, " from captivity, and woise than 
I. i:\ptian hondage, I have, methinks, enjoyed a happiness with whieh my I'm-im r 
lile was never aeipiainted ; now that, after a storm and terrilile tempest, I lia\e. 
hv miracle, put into a sate and quiet harlmnr, after a ni"-i miserable slavery to 
the most unreasonahle and harharous of men, now that 1 enjoy the immunities 
and freedom of my native country and the privileges of a subject of England, 
although my circumstances otherwise are hut indifferent, yet I find I am affect- 
ed with extraordinary emotions and singular transports of joy; now I know what 
liberty is, and can put a value and make a just estimate of that happiness which I never well understood. Health can lie Init slightly esteemed liy him who 
ne\er was acquainted with pain or sickness; and lihertv and freedom are the hap- 
piness only valuable by a reflection on captivity and sla\ei\ ." Osborne's Voyages, 
Vol. II. p. 500. 

I Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, pp. 32, 310, 311. Thomas Phelps breaks forth in a 
similar strain: "I looked upon mv condition as desperate; my forlorn and lan- 
guishing Mate of lit;-, without any hope of redemption, appeared far worse than the 
1 1 n'T- nf a most cruel death." ( )sbornc*s Voyages, Vol. II. p. 504. 

\ British Annual Register, Vol. VI. p. 60. 


four thousand, rose and killed their guards, and massacred all who 
came in their way ; but after some hours' carnage, during which 
the streets ran with blood, peace was restored." 

But the struggles for freedom did not always assume the shape of 
conspiracies against the government. They were often efforts to es- 
cape, sometimes in numbers, and sometimes singly. Cervantes's 
captivity was filled with such endeavours, in which, however, he was 
constantly balked, although he persevered with determined skill 
and courage. One of these was favored by some of his own coun- 
trymen, who were hovering on the coast in a vessel from Majorca, 
and who did not think it wrong to aid in the liberation of captives. 
Another was favored by certain Christian merchants resident at Al- 
giers, through whose agency a vessel was actually purchased for this 
purpose.* And still another was supposed to be aided by a Span- 
ish ecclesiastic, Father Olivar, who had visited Algiers to procure 
the legal redemption of slaves, and who, it was thought, might not 
be unwilling to promote their escape. If he had any such generous 
design, he paid the penalty which similar purposes have found else- 
where and in another age. He was seized by the Dey and thrown 
into chains ; for it was regarded by the Algerine government as a 
high offence to further in any way the escape of a slave. f 

Endeavours for freedom are animating ; nor can any honest nature 
hear of them without a throb of sympathy. As we dwell on the 
painful narrative of the unequal contest between tyrannical power 
and the crushed captive or slave, we cannot but enter the lists on the 
side of freedom ; and as we behold the contest waged by a few 
individuals, or, perhaps, by one alone, our sympathy is given to his 
weakness as well as to his cause. To him we send the unfalter- 
ing succour of our good wishes. For him we invoke vigor of arm 
to defend, and fleetness of foot to escape. The enactments of hu- 
man laws are vain to restrain the warm tides of our hearts. We 
pause with rapture on those historic scenes in which freedom has 
been attempted or preserved through the magnanimous self-sacrifice 
of friendship or Christian aid. We follow with palpitating bosom 
the midnight flight of Mary of Scotland from the custody of her 

* Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, pp. 31, 308, 309. I refer to Roscoe as the popular au- 
thority. His work appears to be little more than a compilation from Navarrete and 

t Ibid., p. 33. See also Haedo, Historia de Argd, p. 185. 



stern jailers, we accompany Grotius in his escape from prison in 
Holland, so adroitly promoted by his wife, - - we join with Lava- 
lette in France, in his flight, aided also by his wife, --and we offer 
our admiration and gratitude to Huger and Bollrnan, who, unawed 
by the arbitrary ordinances of Austria, strove heroically, though 
vainly, to rescue Lafayette from the dungeons of Olmutz. The 
laws of Algiers which sanctioned a cruel slavery, and which 
doomed to condign penalties all endeavours for freedom, and espe- 
cially all support and countenance of such endeavours can no 
longer prevent our homage to Cervantes, not less gallant than re- 
nowned, who strove so constantly and earnestly to escape his chains, 
nor to those Christians who did not fear to aid him, nor to the 
good ecclesiastic who suffered in his cause. 

It may not be without interest to pursue the story of some of 
these efforts to escape from slavery in the Barbary States, so far as 
they can be traced. The following is in the exact words of an 
early writer : 

"One John Fox, an expert mariner, and a good, approved, and 
sufficient gunner, was (in the raignc of Queene Elizabeth) taken by 
the Turkes, and kept eighteene yeeres in most miserable bondage 
and slavery ; at the end of which time, he espied his opportunity 
(and God assisting him withall) that hee slew his keeper, and fled 
to the sea's side, where he found a gaily with one hundred and fifty 
captive Christians, which hee speedily waving their anchor, set saile, 
and fell to worke like men, and safely arrived in Spaone ; by which 
meanes, he freed himselfe and a number of poor soules from long 
and intolerable servitude ; after which, the said John Fox came into 
England, and the Queene (being rightly informed of Jiis brave ex- 
ploit} did graciously enterlaine him for her sen- ant, and allowed 
him a yeerlij pension." 

In 1G21, a ship of Bristol was captured by an Algerine corsair, of 
whose fate we have a quaint description. All the Englishmen were 
taken out except four youths, over whom the Turks, as these bar- 
barians were often called by early writers, put thirteen of their own 
men, to conduct the ship as a prize to Algiers ; and one of the pi- 
rates was appointed captain, being a strong, able, stern, and resolute 
person. " These four poor youths," so the story proceeds, " being 
thus fallen into the hands of merciless infidels, began to study and 

I'nrclias's Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 388 


complot all the means they could for the obtayning of their freedom. 
They considered the lamentable and miserable estates that they were 
like to be in, as to be debarred for ever from seeing their friends and 
country, to be chained, beaten, made slaves, and to eat the bread of 
affliction in the galleys, all the remainder of their unfortunate lives, 
and, which was worst of all, never to be partakers of the heavenly 
word and sacraments. Thus being quite hopeless, and, for any thing 
they knew, for ever helpless, they sailed five days and nights under 
the command of the pirates, when, on the fifth night, God, in his 
great mercy, shewed them a means for their wished-for escape." A 
sudden wind arose, when the captain coming to help take in the 
main-sail, two of the English youths "suddenly took him by the 
breech and threw him overboard ; but by fortune he fell into the bunt 
of the sail, where quickly catching hold of a rope, he, being a very 
strong man, had almost gotten into the ship again ; which John Cook 
perceiving, leaped speedily to the pump, and took off the pump- 
brake or handle and cast it to William Long, bidding him knock 
him down, which he was not long in doing, but, lifting up the wooden 
weapon, he gave him such a palt on the pate, as made his braines 
forsake the possession of his head, with which his body fell into the 
sea." The corsairs were overpowered. The English youths drove 
them "from place to place in the ship, and having coursed them 
from poop to the forecastle, they there valiantly killed two of them, 
and gave another a dangerous wound or two, who, to escape the 
further fury of their swords, leaped suddenly overboard to go seek 
his captain." The other nine Turks ran between-decks, where 
they were fastened by the English, who, directing their course to 
St. Lucas, in Spain, " in short time, by God's ayde, happily and 
safely arrived at the said port, where they sold the nine Turks for 
galley slaves, for a good summe of money, and, as I thinke, a great 
deal more than they were worth." * " He that shall attribute such 
things as these," says the ancient historian, grateful for this triumph 
of freedom, " to the arm of flesh and blood, is forgetful, ungrateful, 
and in a manner Atheistical." 

There is another narrative, derived from the same source, of sin- 
gular success on the part of several Englishmen in regaining their 
freedom. Being captured and carried into Algiers, they were sold 
as slaves. In the words of one of their number, " We icere hur- 
ried like dogs into the market, where, as men sell hacknies in Eng- 

* Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. pp. 882, 883. 


land, we were tossed up and down to ste who icould give most for 
us ; and although we had heavy Jtearts and looked with sad coun- 
tenances, yet many came to behold us, sometimes taking us by the 
hand, sometimes turning us round about, sometimes feeling our 
brawny and naked armes, and so beholding our prices written in 
our breasts, they bargained for us accordingly, and at last we 
were all soW." Shortly afterwards several of these Englishmen 
were put on board an Algerine corsair to serve as slaves. One 
of them, John Rawlins, who resembled Cervantes in the hardi- 
hood of his exertions for freedom, as, like him, he had lost the 
use o( an arm, arranged a rising on board. "O hellish slav- 
ery," he said, " to be thus subject to dogs ! O God ! strength- 
en my heart and hand, and something shall be done to ease us of 
these mischiefs, and deliver us from these cruel Mahometan dogs. 
What can be worse ? I will either attempt my deliverance at one 
time or another, or perish in the enterprise." An auspicious mo- 
ment was seized, and eight English slaves and one French, with the 
assistance of four Hollanders that were freemen, succeeded, after a 
bloody contest, in overpowering fifty-two Turks. " When all was 
done," the story proceeds, " and the ship cleared of the dead 
bodies, Rawlins assembled his men together, and with one consent 
gave the praise unto God, using the accustomed service on ship- 
board, and, for want of books, lifted up their voices to God, as he 
put into their hearts or renewed their memories ; then did they sing 
a psalm, and, last of all, embraced one another for playing the men 
in such a deliverance, whereby our fear was turned into joy, and 
trembling hearts exhilarated that we had escaped such inevitable 
dangers, and especially the slavery and terror of bondage w r orse 
than death itself. The same night we washed our ship, put every 
thing in as good order as we could, repaired the broken quarter, set 
up the biticle, and bore up the helme for England, where, by God's 
grace and good guiding, we arrived at Plimouth, February 17th, 

In 1685, Thomas Phelps and Edward Baxter, Englishmen, ac- 
complished their escape from captivity in Machiness, in Morocco. 
One of them had made a previous unsuccessful attempt, which had 
drawn upon him the punishment of the bastinado, disabling him from 
work for a twelve-month ; " but such was his love of Christian liber- 

' IN.n h;,,s Pilgrims, Vol. II. j.p. 889-896. 


ty, that he freely declared to his companion, that he would adven- 
ture with any fair opportunity." By devious paths, sheltering 
themselves from observation by day in bushes, or in the branches of 
fig-trees, they at length reached the sea. With imminent risk of 
discovery, they succeeded in finding a boat, not far from Sallee, 
which they took without consulting the proprietor, and rowed to a 
ship at a distance, which, to their great joy, proved to be an English 
man-of-war. Making known to the commander the exposed situa- 
tion of some of the Moorish ships at Mamora, they formed part of 
an expedition in boats, which boarded and burnt these ships in the 
night. " One Moor," says the account, " we found aboard, who 
was presently cut in pieces ; another was shot in the head, endeav- 
ouring to escape upon the cable ; we were not long in taking in our 
shavings and tar-barrels, and so set her on fire in several places, 
she being very apt to receive what we designed ; for there were sev- 
eral barrels of tar upon deck, and she was newly tarred, as if on pur- 
pose. Whilst we were setting her on fire, we heard a noise of 
some people in the hold ; we opened the skuttles, and thereby saved 
the lives of four Christians, three Dutchmen and one French, who 
told us the ship on fire was admiral, and belonged to Aly-Hack- 
um, and the other, which we soon after served with the same sauce, 
was the very ship which in October last took me captive." The 
Englishman, once a captive, who tells this story, says it is " most 
especially to move pity for the afflictions of Joseph, to excite com- 
passionate regard to those poor countrymen now languishing in mis- 
ery and irons, to endeavour their releasement." 

At a still later day, there are instances of the escape of captives. 
In the British Annual Register, f there is an account of one in a letter 
from Algiers, dated August 6th, 1772. " A most remarkable es- 
cape," it says, " of some Christian prisoners has lately been effected 
here, which will undoubtedly cause those that have not had that good 
fortune to be treated with the utmost rigor. On the morning of the 
27th July, the Dey was informed that all the Christian slaves had 
escaped the over-night in a galley ; this news soon raised him, and, 
upon inquiry, it was found to have been a preconcerted plan. 
About ten at night, seventy-four slaves, who had found means 
to escape from their masters, met in a large square near the gate 

* Osborne's Voyages, Vol. II. pp. 497-510. 
t Vol. XV. p. 130. 


which opens to the harbour, and, being well armed, they soon 
forced the guard to submit, and, to prevent their raising the city, 
confined them all in the powder-magazine. They then proceeded to 
the lower part of the harbour, where they embarked on board a large 
rowing polacre that was left there for the purpose, and, the tide 
ebbing out, they fell gently down with it, and passed both the forts. 
As soon as this was known, three large galleys were ordered out after 
them ; but to no purpose. They returned in three days, with the 
news of seeing the polacre sail into Barcelona, where the galleys 
durst not go to attack her." 

In the same journal * there is another account, in a letter, dated 
September 3d, 1776, from Palma, the capital of Majorca. " Forty- 
six captives," it says, "who were employed to draw stones from a 
quarry some leagues' distance from Algiers, at a place named Geno- 
va, resolved, if possible, to recover their liberty, and yesterday took 
advantage of the idleness and inattention of forty men who were to 
guard them, and who had laid down their arms, and were rambling 
about the shore. The captives attacked them with pick-axes and 
other tools, and made themselves masters of their arms ; and, having 
killed thirty-three of the forty, and eleven of the thirteen sailors who 
yvere in the boat which carried the stones, they obliged the rest to 
jump into the sea. Being then masters of the boat, and armed with 
twelve muskets, two pistols, and powder, they set sail and had the 
good fortune to arrive here this morning, where they are performing 
quarantine. Sixteen of them are Spaniards ; seventeen French ; 
eight Portuguese ; three Italian ; one a German ; and one a Sardin- 


But passing over further details of the various efforts of European 
nations to overturn the system of White Slavery, and also of its un- 
happy victims to escape from it, I descend at once to the period 
when our ow r n government, justly careful of the liberty of its white 
citizens, was called upon to exert all its powers in their behalf. 
The war of the Revolution closed in 1783, by the acknowledgment 
of the independence of the United States. Our new national flag 
was but freshly unfurled, when the Barbary States commenced prey- 
ing upon our commerce. f Within three years, no less than ten ves- 

* V.,!. xix. i>. in;. 

t SparWs Works of Franklin, Vol. IX.' pp. 506, 507, where the Algerines are 

railed " liiimim h;irpies." 


sels were seized by Algerine corsairs. The property of our mer- 
chants was sacrificed or endangered. Insurance at Lloyd's, in Lon- 
don, could be had only at advanced prices ; while it was difficult to 
obtain freight for American bottoms.* The Mediterranean trade 
seemed closed to our enterprise. To a people filled with the spirit 
of commerce, and bursting with new life, this was in itself disheart- 
ening ; but the sufferings of the poor sailors, captives in a distant 
land, aroused a feeling of a higher strain. 

It is not easy to comprehend the exact character of -the condition 
to which they were reduced. There is no reason to believe that it 
differed materially from that of the other Christian captives in Al- 
giers. It is said, that the masters of vessels were lodged together, 
and had a table by themselves, though a small iron ring was attached 
to one of their legs, to denote that they were slaves. The seamen 
were taught and obliged to work at the trades of carpenter, black- 
smith, and stone-mason, from six o'clock in the morning till four 
o'clock in the afternoon, without intermission, except for half an 
hour at dinner. f Some of the details of their mode of life, which 
have been transmitted to us, are doubtless exaggerated. It is suffi- 
cient, however, to know that they were slaves ; nor is there any 
condition, the bare mention of which, without one word of descrip- 
tion, is so strongly calculated to awaken the sympathies of every just 
and enlightened lover of his race. 

Informal agencies were established at an early period, under the 
direction of our ministers at Paris, with a view to secure their free- 
dom ; and it appears that the Society of Redemption whose be- 
neficent exertions, commencing so early in modern history, were still 
continued offered their aid in this behalf. Our agents were 
blandly entertained by that great slave-dealer, the Dey of Algiers, 
who informed them that he was well acquainted with the exploits of 
Washington, and, never expecting to see him, expressed a hope, 
that, through Congress, he might receive a full-length portrait of that 
hero of freedom, to be hung in his palace at Algiers. He, how- 
ever, still clung to his American slaves, holding them at prices be- 
yond the means of the agents. These prices, in 1786, were $6,000 
for a master of a vessel, $4,000 for a mate, $4,000 for a passenger, 

* Boston Independent Chronicle, April 28, 1785, Vol. XVII. No. 866 ; May 12, 
1785, No. 868; Oct. 20, 1785, No. 886; Nov. 3, 1785, No. 888; Nov. 17, 1785, No. 
890; March 2, 1786, Vol. XVIII. No. 908; April 27, 1786, No. 918. 

t History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, p. 52. 


and $ 1,400 for a seaman ; whereas the agent was authorized to offer 
only $200 for each captive.* In 1790, the tariff of prices seems 
to have fallen. Meanwhile, one had obtained his freedom through 
private means, some had escaped, and several had been liberated by 
death. The following list will furnish an idea of the sums de- 
manded, and also the names of some of the captives : f - 

Crew of the Ship Dolphin, of Philadelphia, captured July 3Qlh, 1785. 


Richard O'Brien, master, price demanded, 2,000 

Andrew Montgomery, mate, 1,500 

Jacob Tessanier, French passenger, 2,000 

William Patterson, seaman (keeps a tavern), 1,500 

Philip Sloan, 725 

Peleg Loring, " 725 

John Robertson, " 725 

James Hall, " 725 

Crew of the Schooner Maria, of Boston, captured July 25/7;, 1785. 

Isaac Stevens, master (of Concord, Mass.), 2,000 

Alexander Forsythe, mate, 1,500 

James Cathcart, seaman (keeps a tavern), 1)00 

George Smith, " (in the Dey's house), 725 

John Gregory, " 725 

James Hermit, " 725 


Duty on the above sum, ten per cent., 1,6474- 

Sundry gratifications to officers of the Dcy's household, 240^ 

Sequins 18,362f 
This sum being equal to 8 34,792. 

As the tidings reached America from time to time of the seizure 
of our vessels, and of the dismal fate of our while fellow-citizens, a 
voice of indignation swelled through the land against what were call- 
ed "the infernal crews of Algerine corsairs. " J This acquired 

Ionian's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. ::.".::. 
' Ilii.l.. p. :r>? ; Ili-tnry of the War with Tripoli, p. (il. 

Boston [ndependent Chronicle, May 18, 1786, Vol. \\lli. .\o. !HG. It seems 
that at one time there was an apprehension that Dr. Franklin had lieeii captured. 

" \\ e are \\aitin-, " says one of hi- I'rein-h corresp lenls, "with the greatest im- 

patience to hear you. The ne\\ -papers liave given us anxiety on your ac- 


new force, when, by the fortunate escape of several captives, at 
two different periods, what seemed to be an authentic picture of 
their condition was presented to the world. It will be proper to 
give briefly the story of these fugitives, at once to show the hard- 
ships of their lot, and the foundation of the appeal to the country 
which was made with so much effect. 

The earliest of these escapes was in 1788, by one of our country- 
men who had been taken in a vessel belonging to Boston. After 
his arrival at Algiers, he was, with the rest of the ship's compa- 
ny, exposed for sale at public auction, whence he was sent to the 
country-house of his master, about two miles from town. Here 
he was chained to the wheelbarrow, and kept on one pound of bread 
a day, for the space of eighteen months, during which unhappy 
period he had no opportunity of learning the fate of his companions. 
On the 10th of December, 1787, he and another white slave were 
removed to a jail in Algiers, where, in a gang of four hundred white 
slaves, he encountered three of his shipmates, and twenty-six other 
Americans. After remaining for some time crowded together in the 
slave-prison, they were all distributed on board the different galleys 
in the service of the Dey. Our countryman and eighteen other 
white slaves were put on board a xebec, which carried eight six- 
pounders and sixty men. On the coast of Malta they were attacked 
by an armed vessel belonging to Genoa, which, after much blood- 
shed, took them, sword in hand. Eleven of the unfortunate slaves, 
compelled to this unwelcome service in the cause of a tyrannical 
master, were killed in the contest, before the triumph of the Genoese 
could deliver them from their chains. Our countryman and the 
few still alive were at once set at liberty, and, it is said, "treated 
with that humanity which distinguishes the Christian from the bar- 

His escape was followed the next year by that of several others, 
achieved under circumstances widely different. They had entered, 
about five years before, on board a vessel belonging to Philadelphia, 

count; for some of them insist that you have been taken by the Algerines, while 
others pretend that you are at Morocco, enduring your slavery with all the patience 
of a philosopher. These reports, luckily, have not been confirmed." - M. Le Veil- 
lard to Dr. Franklin, Passy, Oct. 9th, 1765, Sparks's Works of Franklin, Vol. X. 
p. 230. 

* Boston Independent Chronicle, Oct. 16, 1778, Vol. XX. No. 1042; History of 
the War with Tripoli, p. 59. 



which was captured near the Western Islands, and carried into Al- 
giers. The crew, consisting of twenty persons, were doomed to 
bondage. Several were sent into the country and chained to work 
with the mules. Others were put on board a galley and chained to 
the oars. The latter, tempted, perhaps, by the facilities of their po- 
sition near the sea, made several attempts to escape, which, how- 
ever, for some time proved fruitless. But their love of freedom 
triumphed over the suggestions of humanity. They rose at last 
upon their overseers, some of whom they killed, and confined 
others, and then, seizing a small galley near their own, set sail for 
Gibraltar, where in a few hours they landed as freemen. It was 
thus that these fugitive slaves achieved their liberty by killing their 
keepers and carrying off their property.* 

Such stories could not be recounted without producing a strong 
effect. The glimpses which were thus opened into the dread regions 
of slavery gave a harrowing reality to all that conjecture or imagi- 
nation had pictured. It was, indeed, true, that our own white breth- 
ren, heirs to the freedom newly purchased by precious blood, 
partakers in the sovereignty of citizenship, belonging to the fel- 
lowship of the Christian church, were degraded in unquestioning 
obedience to an arbitrary taskmaster, sold as beasts of the field, 
and galled by the manacle and the lash ! It was true that they 
were held at specified prices, and that their only chance of free- 
dom was to be found in earnest, energetic efforts of their country- 
men in their behalf. It appears that in 1793 there were one hun- 
dred and fifteen American captives in Algiers. f Their condition 
excited the fraternal feelings of the whole people, while it occupied 
the anxious attention of Congress and the prayers of the clergy. A 
petition from these unhappy persons, dated at Algiers, December 
29th, 1793, was addressed to the House of Representatives.:): 
"Your petitioners," it says, "are at present captives in this city of 
bondage, employed daily in the most laborious work, without any 
respect to persons. They pray that you will take their unfortunate 
situation into consideration, and adopt such measures as will restore 
the American captives to their country, their friends, families, and 
connections ; and your petitioners will ever pray and be thankful." ui'ilir \\':ir \vitli Tripoli, p. 62. 
t LyiiKin s l)ipluin;irv, Vol. II. p. 351). 

II. 1,1 . p : II ill 


But the action of Congress was sluggish, compared with the swift 
desires of the friends of the captives. 

Appeals of a different character, addressed to the country at 
large, were now commenced. Colonel Humphreys, the friend and 
companion of Washington, and our minister at Portugal, most effi- 
ciently aided these, by a letter to the American people, which ap- 
peared in the newspapers of the time, dated Lisbon, July Hth, 
1794. He suggested a grand lottery,* sanctioned by the United 
States, or particular lotteries in the individual States, in order to obtain 
the money required to purchase the freedom of our countrymen. He 
then says, "I ask, is there within the limits of these United States 
an individual who will not cheerfully contribute in proportion to his 
means, to carry it into effect ? By the peculiar blessings of free- 
dom which you enjoy, by the disinterested sacrifices you made for 
its attainment, by the patriotic blood of those martyrs of liberty who 
died to secure your independence, and by all the tender ties of na- 
ture, let me conjure you once more to snatch your unfortunate 
countrymen from fetters, dungeons, and death." 

This was followed shortly after by a petition from the American 
captives in Algiers, addressed to the ministers of the gospel of every 
denomination throughout the United States, praying their influence 
to help in the sacred cause of Emancipation. The cause in which 
it was written will indispose the reader to any criticism of its some- 
what exuberant language. It begins by an allusion to the day of na- 
tional thanksgiving which had been appointed by President Wash- 
ington, and proceeds to ask the clergy to set apart the Sunday 
preceding that day for sermons, to be delivered contemporaneously 
throughout the country, in behalf of their brethren in bonds. f 

" Reverend and Respected, 

" On Thursday, the 19th of February, 1795, you are enjoined by the 
president of the United States of America to appear in the various tem- 
ples of that God who heareth the groaning of the prisoner, and in mercy 
remembereth those who are appointed to die. 

" Nor are ye to assemble alone ; for on this, the high day of continen- 
tal thanksgiving, all the religious societies and denominations throughout 
the Union, and all persons whomsoever within the limits of the confeder- 

* It should be observed, that at this time it was customary to resort to lotteries as 
a mode of raising money for literary or benevolent purposes. There were lotteries 
for the benefit of Harvard College. 

t History of the War with Tripoli, pp. 60-71. 

ated States, are to enter the courts of Jehovah, with their several pastors, 
and gratefully to render unfeigned thanks to the Ruler of nations for the 
manifold and signal mercies which distinguish your lot as a people ; in 
a more particular manner, commemorating your exemption from foreign 
war ; being greatly thankful for the preservation of peace at home and 
abroad ; and fervently beseeching the kind Author of all these blessings 
graciously to prolong them to you, and finally to render the United States 
of America more and more an asylum for the unfortunate of every clime 
under heaven. 

" Reverend and Respected, 

" Most fervent are our daily prayers, breathed in the sincerity of woes 
unspeakable; most ardent are the embittered aspirations of our afflicted 
spirits, that thus it may be in deed and in truth. Although we are pris- 
oners in a foreign land, although we are far, very far from our native 
homes, although our harps are hung upon the weeping willows of slavery, 
nevertheless America is still preferred above our chiefest joy, and the 
last wish of our departing souls shall be her peace, her prosperity, her 
liberty for ever. On this day, the day of festivity and gladness, remem- 
ber us, your unfortunate brethren, late members of the family of free- 
dom, now doomed to perpetual confinement. Pray, earnestly pray, that 
our grievous calamities may have a gracious end. Supplicate the Father 
of mercies for the most wretched of his offspring. Beseech the God of 
all consolation to comfort us by the hope of fnal restoration. Implore 
the Jesus whom you worship to open the house of the prison. Entreat 
the Christ whom you adore to let the miserable captives go free. 

" Reverend and Respected, 

" It is not your prayers alone, although of much avail, which we beg 
on the bending knee of sufferance, galled by the corroding fetters of slav- 
ery. We conjure you by the bowels of the mercies of the Almighty, we 
ask you in the name of your Father in Heaven, to have compassion on 
our miseries, to wipe away the crystallized tears of despondence, to 
hush the heartfelt sigh of distress ; and by every possible exertion of 
godlike charity, to restore us to our wives, to our children, to our 
I'rit'/ids, to our God and to yours. 

" Is it possible that a stimulus can be wanting? Forbid it, the exam- 
ple of a dying, bleeding, crucified Saviour! Forbid it, the precepts of a 
risen, ascended, glorified Immanuel ! Do unto us in fetters, in bonds, 
in dungeons, in dnn^cr of the pestilence, as ye yourselves would wish to 
be done unto. Lift uji your voices likr a trumpet ; cry aloud in the 
cause of humanity, benevolence ) philosophy ; r/oi/nence can never be di- 
rected to a nof'/'i- jnirpose ; religion nenr i i/ij>loycd in a more glorious 


cause ; charity never meditate a more exalted flight. O that a live coal 
from the burning altar of celestial beneficence might warm the hearts of 
the sacred order, and impassion the feelings of the attentive hearer ! 

Gentlemen of the Clergy in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachu- 
setts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, 
" Your most zealous exertions, your unremitting assiduities, are pa- 
thetically invoked. Those States in which you minister unto the Church 
of God gave us birth. We are as aliens from the commonwealth of 
America. We are strangers to the temples of our God. The strong 
arm of infidelity hath bound us with two chains ; the iron one of slavery 
and the sword of death are entering our very souls. Arise, ye ministers 
of the Most High, Cliristians of every denomination, awake unto charity ! 
Let a brief \ setting forth our hapless situation, be published throughout 
the continent. Be it read in every house of worship, on Sunday, the 
&th of February. Command a preparatory discourse to be delivered on 
Sunday, the 15th of February, in all churches whithersoever this pe- 
tition or the brief may come; and on Thursday, the 19th of February, 
complete the godlike work. It is a day which assembles a continent to 
thanksgiving. It is a day which calls an empire to praise. God grant 
that this may be the day which emancipates the forlorn captive, and may 
the best blessings of those who are ready to perish be your abiding por- 
tion for ever ! Thus prays a small remnant who are still alive ; thus pray 
your fellow-citizens, chained to the galleys of the impostor Mahomet. 
" Signed for and in behalf of his fellow-sufferers, by 

" In the tenth year of his captivity." 

Not long after this address there appeared in New Hampshire 
a publication, entitled, " Tyrannical Libertymen, a Discourse upon 

Negro Slavery in the United States, composed at in New 

Hampshire, on the late Federal Thanksgiving Day,"* which, 
while advocating the cause of the unhappy black slaves in the United 
States, refers pointedly to the condition of our unfortunate white 
fellow-countrymen in bonds. " There was a contribution upon this 
day," it says, " for the purpose of redeeming those Americans who 
are in slavery at Algiers, an object worthy of a generous peo- 
ple. Their redemption, we hope, is not far distant. But should 
any person contribute money for this purpose, which he had cudg- 
elled out of a negro slave, he would deserve less applause than an 
actor in the comedy of Las Casas When will Ameri- 

* From the Eagle Office, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1795. 


cans show that they are what they affect to be thought, friends 
to the cause of humanity at large, reverers of the rights of their 
fellow-creatures ? Hitherto we have been oppressors ; nay, mur- 
derers ! for many a negro has died by the whip of his master, 
and many have lived when death would have been preferable. 
Surely, the curse of God and the reproach of man is against us. 
Worse than the seven plagues of Egypt will befall us. If Al- 
giers shall be punished sevenfold, truly America seventy and seven- 

The excitement of this discussion called forth a work of some 
note, entitled, " The Algerine Captive," which was one of the 
earliest productions of our country reprinted in London, at a time 
\\hen few American books were read there. It was published 
anonymously, but is known to have been written by a gentleman 
afterwards Chief Justice of Vermont, Royall Tyler. In the form 
of a narrative of personal adventures, extending through two vol- 
umes, as a slave in Algiers, the author depicts the horrors of this 
condition. In this regard it is not unlike a work entitled " Archy 
Moore," of our own day, wherein are displayed the horrors of Amer- 
ican slavery. The author is taken captive by the Algerines while 
engaged as surgeon on board a ship employed in the African slave- 
trade. After describing the reception of the poor negroes, he says : 
-"I cannot reflect on this transaction yet, without shuddering. I 
have deplored rny conduct with tears of anguish ; and I pray a mer- 
ciful Cod, the common Parent of the great family of the universe, 
who hath made of one flesh and one blood all nations of the earth, 
that the miseries, the insults, and cruel woundings I afterwards re- 
ceived, when a slave myself, may expiate for the inhumanity I was 
necessitated to exercise towards these my brethren of the human 
race." (Chap. 30.) And when he is at length made captive him- 
self by the Algerines, he records his meditations and resolves. 
" Grant me," he says, from the depths of his own misfortune, 
" once more to taste the freedom of my native country, and every 
moment of my life shall be dedicated to preaching against this de- 
testable commerce. I will fly to our fellow-citizens in the Southern 
States ; I will, on my knees, conjure them, in the name of humani- 
ty, to abolish a traffic which causes it to bleed in every pore. If 
they are deaf to the pleadings of nature, I will conjure them, for the 
sake of consistency, to cease to deprive their fellow-creatures of 
freedom, which their writers, their orators, representatives, senators, 


and even their constitutions of government, have declared to be the 
unalienable birthright of man." (Chap. 32.)* 

* The comparison between Algerine and American slavery seems to have been 
not uncommon at this time. Dr. Franklin's ingenious apologue presents it in a 
strong light. As president of the Abolition Society of Pennsylvania, he had signed 
a memorial, which was presented to the House of Representatives of the United 
States, February 12th, 178 ( J, praying them " to go to the very verge of the power 
vested in them to discourage every species of traffic in our fellow-men." This was 
his last public act. In the debates to which this gave rise, several attempts were 
made to justify slavery and the slave-trade. The last and almost dying energies of 
Franklin were excited. He published in one of the papers at the time an essay, pur- 
porting to contain a speech delivered in the Divan of Algiers in 1687, in opposition 
to the prayer of the petition of a sect, called Erika, or Purists, or Abolitionists, for 
the abolition of piracy and slavery. This pretended Algerine speech was a parody 
of one delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia. All the arguments adduced in fa- 
vor of negro slavery are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and en- 
slaving of whites. This remarkable paper is dated only twenty-four days before 
the author's death. Sparks's Franklin, Vol. II. p. 517. 

The address from the same Abolition Society to the Convention which framed the 
Federal Constitution, in 1767, contains the same parallel. " Providence," it says, 
" seems to have ordained the sufferings of our American brethren, groaning in cap- 
tivity at Algiers, to awaken us to a sentiment of the injustice and cruelty of which 
we are guilty towards the wretched Africans."- - Brissot's Travels, Vol. I. Letter 22. 
On still another important occasion the same parallel was recognized. It seems 
that complaint was made against England of carrying away from New York certain 
negroes, in alleged violation of the treaty of 1783. In discussing this matter in an 
elaborate paper preserved in the Secret Journals of Congress, John Jay, Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs under the Confederation, says: " Whether men can be so degrad- 
ed as under any circumstances to be with propriety denominated goods and chattels, 
and under that idea capable of becoming booty, is a question on which opinions are 
unfortunately various, even in countries professing Christianity and respect for the 
rights of mankind." He then says : " If a war should take place between France 
and Algiers, and in the course of it France should invite the American slaves there 
to run away from their masters, and actually receive and protect them in their camp, 
what would Congress, and indeed the world, think and say of France, if, in making 
peace with Algiers, she should give up those American slaves to their former Al- 
gerine masters ? Is there any difference leticeen the two cases titan this, viz., that the 
American slaves at Algiers are WHITE people, icliercas the African slaves at New 
York were BLACK people?" In introducing these remarks, the Secretary says, " he is 
aware he is about to say unpopular things ; but higher motives than personal con- 
siderations press him to proceed." Secret Journals of Congress, 1786, Vol. IV. 
pp. 274-280. 

And still another writer, in 1794, when the sympathy with the American captives 
was at its heigh-t, presses the parallel in pungent terms : " For this practice of 
buying and selling slaves," he says, " we are not entitled to charge the Algerines 
with any exclusive degree of barbarity. The Christians of Europe and America 
i.-arry on this commerce one hundred times more extensively than the Algerines. It 
has received a recent sanction from the immaculate Divan of Britain. Nobody 
seems even to be surprised by a diabolical kind of advertisements, which, for some 


The country was now aroused. A general contribution was pro- 
posed for the emancipation of our brethren. Their cause was 
pleaded in churches, and not forgotten at the festive board. At all 
public celebrations, the toasts, " Happiness for all," and " Uni- 
versal liberty," were proposed, not less in sympathy with the ef- 
forts for freedom in France, than with those for our own wretched 
white fellow-countrymen in bonds. On at least one occasion,* they 
were distinctly remembered in the following toast : " Our brethren 
in slavery at Algiers. May the measures adopted for their redemp- 
tion be successful, and may they live to rejoice with their friends in 
the blessings of liberty." 

Meanwhile, the earnest efforts of our government had been con- 
tinued. In his message to Congress, bearing date December 8th, 
1795, President Washington had said : --" With peculiar satisfac- 
tion I add, that information has been received from an agent deputed 
on our part to Algiers, importing that the terms of a treaty with the 
Dey and regency of that country have been adjusted in such a man- 
ner as to authorize the expectation of a speedy peace, and the resto- 
ration of our unfortunate fellow-citizens from a grievous captivity." 
This, indeed, had already been effected, on the 5th of September, 
1795. f It was a treaty full of humiliation for the din-ulry of our 
country, inasmuch as it stipulated for an annual tribute of twenty-one 
thousand dollars to the Algerine government, while it exacted a large 
sum in consideration of present peace and the liberation of the cap- 
tives. But feelings of pride disappeared in heartfelt satisfaction at 
their freedom. It is recorded, that a thrill of joy went through the 
land when it was announced that a vessel had left Algiers having on 
board all the Americans who bad been in captivity there. Their 

month- pa-t, have frfmientl v adorned tin 1 newspapers of Philadelphia. The French 
fugitives from the West Indies have brought with them a crowd of slaves. These 
most injured people sometimes run oil', and their master advertises a reward for ap- 
prehending them. At the same time, we are commonly informed that his sacred 
name i< mar kid in capitals on their breasts ; or, in plainer terms, it is stamped on that 
part "f the lindy with a red-hot iron. Before, therefore, we reprobate the ferocity of 
the AL'erine-, \ve should inquire whether it is not poilde t<> find in some other re- 
gion of this jrlolie a systematic brutality still mure disgraceful." Short Account of 
Algiers (Philadelphia, ITHf., p. I- 

* At Portsmouth, N. II., at a public H >ti\e entertainment, April 3d, 1795, in honor 
of French successes. Boston Independent Chronicle, Vol. XXVII. No. 1469. 

t United States Statutes at Large (Little and Brown's edit.), Treaties, Vol. VIII. 
p. 133; Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 362. 


emancipation was purchased at the cost of upwards of seven hundred 
thousand dollars. But the money, and even the indignity of tribute, 
were forgotten in gratulations on their new-found happiness ; while 
the President, in a message to Congress,* presented their " actual 
liberation" as a special subject of joy "to every feeling heart." 
Thus did our government construct a Bridge of Gold for freedom. 

This act of national generosity was followed by peace with Trip- 
oli, which was purchased, November 4th, 1796, for the sum of fifty 
thousand dollars, under the guaranty of the Dey of Algiers, who 
was declared to be "the mutual friend of the parties" ; while, by 
an article in the treaty, negotiated by Joel Barlow, --out of tender- 
ness, perhaps, to Mahometanism, and to save our citizens from the 
slavery which was regarded as the just doom of "Christian dogs," 
-it was expressly declared that "the government of the United 
States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian reli- 
gion."! ^ a later day, all danger to our citizens seemed to be 
averted by a treaty with Tunis, which was purchased after some de- 
lay, but at a smaller price than that with Tripoli. In this treaty it 
was igriominiously provided, that fugitive slaves, taking refuge on 
board American merchant-vessels, and even vessels of war, should 
be restored to their owners.! 

As early as 1787, a treaty of a more liberal character had been 
entered into with Morocco, which was confirmed in 1795, at the 
price of twenty thousand dollars ; while, by a treaty with Spain, in 
1799, this slave-trading empire expressly declared its desire that the 
name of slavery might be effaced from the memory of man.\\ 

But these governments were barbarous, faithless, and regardless of 
the duties of humanity and justice. Treaties with them were evanes- 
cent. As in the days of Charles the Second, they seemed made mere- 
ly to be broken. They were observed only so long as money was 
derived under their stipulations. The Barbary corsairs did not leave 
the American commerce fora long time unvexed, while even the ships 

* December 7th, 1796. 

f Article 11 ; Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. pp. 380, 381 ; United States Statutes at 
Large, Vol. VIII. p. 154. 

t Article 6 ; United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 157. This treaty has 
two dates, August, 17117, and March, 179'J. William Eaton and James Leander Cath- 
cart were the agents of the United States at the latter date. 

Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 350 ; United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. 
p. 100. 

|| History of the War with Tripoli, p. 80. 



of our navy were subject to peculiar indignities. In 1801, the 
Bey of Tripoli formally declared war against the United States, and 
in token thereof " our flag-staff [before the consulate] was chopped 
down six feet from the ground, and left reclining on the terrace." * 
Our ships and sailors once more became the prey of man-stealers. 
Colonel Humphreys was again aroused. In an address to the pub- 
lic, he said, f "Americans of the United States, your fellow- 
citizens are in fetters ! Can there be but one feeling ? Where are 
the gallant remains of the race who fought for freedom ? Where the 
glorious heirs of their patriotism ? Will there never be a truce be- 
tween political parties 9 Or must it for ever be the fate of FREE 
STATES, that the soft voice of union should be drowned in the hoarse 
clamor of discord ? No ! Let every friend of blessed humanity 
and sacred freedom entertain a better hope and confidence." The 
people and government responded to this voice. And here com- 
menced those early efforts of our navy by which it became known 
in Europe. By a daring act, Decatur burnt the frigate Philadel- 
phia, which, through a reverse of shipwreck rather than war, had 

* Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. p. 384. 

t Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys, p. "5. lie also appealed to his 
country in a poem (Ibid., pp. 52,53), which contains an indignant condemnation of 
s!:i\ cry. 

" Teach me curst slavery's cruel woes to paint, 
Beneath whose weight our captured freemen faint ! 

Where am I ? Heavens ! what mean these dolorous ci 

And what these horrid scenes that round me i 

Heard \ e the groans, those messengers of pain ': 

Heard \e the clanking of the captive's chain 

Heard ye your freeborn sons their late deplm-i , 

Pale in their chains and laboring at the oar ? 

Saw ye the dungeon, in whose blackest cell, 

That house of woe, \ our friends, \ our children, dwell ? 

Or -aw \e those who dread the torturing hour, 

Crushed hv the rigors of a ly rant's possri .- 

V;/o ye the shrinking yiun, th> uplifted in.--h, 

The froir /tin ^ li/i/r/itr, n/iil tlir rnlili tiiiiir ;//.' 

Saw ye the fresh blood ichere it. lull/ling broke 

From purple scars, bcncatli the <^i iinlin^ stn>I,t .' 

*iiir //i tin mi!, nl liinlis writhed to unit fro, 

In irilii < iiiilnrlnniS of COHVIllsillf.' " 

1'elt ye the blood, with pangs alternate rolled, 

Thrill through your \cins and five/e with deathlike cold, 

Or fire, as down the tear of pits stole, 

Your manly breasts, and harrow up the soul ' 


fallen into the hands of the Tripolitans. Other deeds of hardihood 
ensued. A romantic expedition under General Eaton, from Al- 
exandria, in Egypt, across the desert of Libya, captured Derne. 
Tripoli was attacked three several times, and, at last, on the 3d of 
June, 1805, entered into a treaty, by which it was stipulated that the 
United States should pay sixty thousand dollars for the freedom of 
two hundred Americans detained as captives ; and that, in the event 
of future war between the two countries, the prisoners captured by 
either party should not be made slaves, but should be exchanged, 
rank for rank ; and if there should be any deficiency on either side, 
that it should be made up by the payment of five hundred Spanish 
dollars for each captain, three hundred dollars for each mate and 
supercargo, and one hundred dollars for each seaman.* Thus did 
our country, after successes not without what is called the glory of 
arms, again purchase by money the emancipation of her white citi- 

The power of Tripoli was, however, inconsiderable. That of 
Algiers was more formidable. It is not a little curious, that the 
largest ship of this slave-trading state was the Crescent, of thirty-four 
guns, built in New Hampshire ; f though it is hardly to the credit of 
our sister State that the Jllgerine power should have derived such im- 
portant support from her. The lawlessness of the corsair again 
broke forth in 1812, by the seizure of the brig Edwin of Salem, 
which was carried into Algiers and her crew reduced to slavery. 
All the energies of our country were then enlisted in the war with 
Great Britain ; but even amidst the anxieties of this gigantic contest 
the voice of these captives was heard, awakening a corresponding 
sentiment in the country, until the government was prompted to seek 
their release by an unofficial offer of three thousand dollars a head.J 
The answer of the Dey, repeated on several occasions, was, that 
" not for two millions of dollars would he sell his American slaves." 
The timely treaty of Ghent, in 1815, establishing peace with Great 
Britain, left us at liberty to deal with this enslaver of our country- 
men. A naval force was promptly despatched to the Mediterranean, 

* United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 214 ; Lyman's Diplomacy, Vol. II. 
p. 388. 

t History of the War between the United States and Tripoli, p. 88. 

t Noah's Travels, p. 69. It was through Mr. Noah, who had been appointed 
consul at Tunis, that this offer was made. 

Noah's Travels, p. 144 ; National Intelligencer of March 7, 1815. 


under Commodore Bainbridge and Commodore Decattir. The ra- 
pidity of their movements and their striking success had the desired 
effect, in June, 1815, a treaty was extorted from the Dey of Al- 
giers, by which, after abandoning all claim to tribute in any form, he 
delivered his American captives, ten in number, without any ransom ; 
and stipulated, that hereafter no Americans should be made slaves or 
forced to hard labor, and, still further, that " any Christians what- 
ever, captives in Algiers," who should make their escape and take 
refuge on board any of our ships of war, should not be required back 

It is related of Decatur, that he walked his deck with impatient 
earnestness, awaiting the promised signature of the treaty. " Is the 
treaty signed ? " he cried to the captain of the port and the Swedish 
consul, as they reached the Guerriere with a white flag of truce. 
" It is," replied the Swede ; and the treaty was placed in Deca- 
tur's hands. "Are the prisoners in the boat?' "They are." 
" Every one of them ? ' " Every one, Sir." The captive Amer- 
icans now came forward to greet and bless their deliverer.! It was, 
undoubtedly, one of the sweetest moments in the life of this hardy 
son of the sea, when he procured freedom for these countrymen, and 
contributed so powerfully to overthrow the system of slavery under 
\\hich they had groaned. But should I not say, even here, that 
there is now a citizen of Massachusetts, who, without army or navy, 
by a simple act of self-renunciation, has given freedom to a larger 
number of Christian American slaves than was done by the sword 
of Decatur ? J 

Thus, not by money, but by arms, was emancipation this time 
secured for American captives. The country was grateful for 
the result ; though the poor freedmen, engulfed in the unknown 
wastes of ocean, on their glad passage home, were never able to 

I Hited States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 224 ; Lyman's Diplomacy, Vok II. 

P. :;7ii. 

t Mackenzie's Life of Deratur, p. 268. 

il"ii. Juhri Gorham Palfrey, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
r. i i vi-rl twentv-two slaves by inheritance, on the death of his father, in Octohcr, 1 - I!!. 
They were on a plantation in Louisiana. lie lost no time in taking the necessary steps 
for their iiiaiiiimis.-ioii. His petition to the le^i.-laiiire of Louisiana, for permission to 
set them free within the State, \\ as laid on the tahlc by a unanimous vote. Against 
manv impediments, and at considerable cost, he persevered in his determination, and, 
by a personal visit to the State, speeded the act. I'.inhteeii fellow-men, who had been 
slaves, have been established by his beneficence in Massachusetts and New York. 
Four other* have In en allowed to remain, a- lr> < men, in Louisiana. 


mingle joys with their fellow-citizens.* Nordic! the country feel the 
melancholy mockery of the conduct of the government, which, having 
weakly declared that it " was not in any sense founded on the Chris- 
tian religion,"! now expressly confined the protecting power of 
its flag to fugitive " Christians, captives in Algiers," | leaving slaves 
of another faith to be snatched as between the horns of the altar, 
and returned to the continued horrors of their lot. 

The success of the American arms was speedily followed by a 
more signal triumph of Great Britain, acting generously in behalf of 
all the Christian powers. Her expedition was debated, perhaps 
prompted, in the Congress of Vienna, where were assembled, after 
the overthrow of Napoleon, the brilliant representatives of the differ- 
ent states of Europe, in the presence of the monarchs of Austria, 
Prussia, and Russia, to consider the evils proper to be remedied by 
joint action, and to adjust the disordered balance of empire. And 
here, among other high matters of discussion, was entertained the 
project of a crusade against the Barbary States, in order to accom- 
plish the complete abolition of Christian slavery there practised. It 
was proposed to form " a holy league " for this purpose. This was 
earnestly enforced by a memoir from Sir Sidney Smith, the Brit- 
ish officer who foiled Napoleon at Acre, --who was president of 
an association called the " Knights Liberators of the IVIiite Slaves 
in Africa," - in our day it might be called an Abolition Society, - 
thus adding to the doubtful laurels of war the true glory of striving 
for the freedom of his fellow-men. 

This project awakened a generous echo in the public mind. Va- 
rious advocates appeared in its behalf; and it was especially urged 
upon Great Britain, by the agents of Spain and Portugal, who in- 
sisted, that, because this nation had abolished the negro slave-trade, 
it was her duty to put an end to the slavery of the whiles. || 

They were lost in the Epervier, which went down at sea, no trace of her ever 

t Ante, p. 41. 

\ Ante, p. 44. 

Memoire sur la Necessite et les Moyens de faire cesser les Pirateries des Etats 
Barbaresques. Requ, considere, et adopte a Paris en Septembre, a Turin le 14 Oc- 
tobre, 1814, a Vienne durant le Congres. Par M. Sidney Smith. See Quarterly Re- 
view, Vol. XV. p. 140, where this is noticed. Schoell, Histoire des Traitts de Paix, 
Tome XI. p. 402. 

|| Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXVI. p. 451 ; Osier's Life of Exmouth, p. 302 ; Mac- 
kenzie's Life of Decatur, p. 263. 


A disgraceful impediment seemed to interfere with it. There was 
a common belief that the obstructions to the navigation of the Med- 
iterranean, created by the Barbary States, were advantageous to 
British commerce, by thwarting and strangling that of other coun- 
tries ; and that therefore Great Britain, ever anxious for commer- 
cial supremacy, would not seek their overthrow, but would rather 
encourage them, --the love of trade prevailing over the love of 
man.* This suggestion of a sordid selfishness, which was willing to 
coin money out of the lives and liberties of fellow-Christians, w r as 
soon answered. 

Lord Kxmouth, who had already acquired distinction in the Brit- 
ish navy as Sir Edward Pellew, was despatched with a squadron to 
Algiers at the beginning of the year 1816. By his general orders 
to his fleet, bearing date, Boyne, Port Mahon, March 21, 1816, he 
announced the object of his expedition as follows : 

" He has been instructed and directed by his Royal Highness, the 
Prince Regent, to proceed with the fleet to Algiers, and there make 
certain arrangements for diminishing, at least, the piratical excur- 
sions of the Barbary States, by uliich thousands of our fellow-crea- 
tures, innocently following their commercial pursuits, have been 
dragged into the most icretched and revolting state of slavery. 

" The commander-in-chief is confident that this outrageous sys- 
tem of piracy and slavery rouses in common the same spirit of in- 
dignation which he himself feels ; and should the government of 
Algiers refuse the reasonable demands he bears from the Prince Re- 
gent, he doubts not but the flag will be honorably and zealously 
supported by every officer and man under his command, in his en- 
deavours to procure the acceptation of them by force ; and if force 
must be resorted to, we have the consolation of knowing that we fight 
in the sacred cause of humanity, and cannot fail of success."! 

The moderate object of his mission was readily obtained. Ar- 
rangements for diminishing the piratical excursions of the Barbary 
States " were established. Certain Ionian slaves, claimed as Brit- 
ish subjects, were released, and peace was secured for Naples and 
Sardinia,-- ihc former paying a ransom of five hundred dollars, the 

Ullarterlv Review, Yn!. XV. |,. 11.",; Hdilllilirjlll UevieW, Vol. XXVI. p. 449, 

where there is a review <>f a pnUi. ii'mn mtiilnl "A Letter to a Member of Parlia- 
ment, nn the Slavery nf tlie ( 'liri>ilaii-i at Algiers. I'.y Waller Croker, Esq., of the 
|{,,\al Navy. I.nn<lmi, I -hi." Schoell, 'I'rnitL* <! Paix, Tom. XI. p. 402. 
) Osier's I. ile of i:\in.-mli, \>. '.'.'7. 


latter of three hundred dollars, a head, for their subjects liberated 
from bondage. This was at Algiers. Lord Exmouth next pro- 
ceeded to Tunis and Tripoli, where, acting beyond his instructions, 
he obtained from both of these governments a promise to abolish 
Christian slavery within their dominions. In one of his letters on 
this event, he says, that, in pressing these governments, he u acted 
solely on his own responsibility and without orders ; the causes and 
reasoning on which, upon general principles, may be defensible ; but, 
as applying to our own country, may not be borne out, the old mercan- 
tile interest being against it."* Thus did commerce, the daughter 
of freedom, fall under the foul suspicion of disloyalty to her parent ! 
Lord Exmouth did not do justice to the moral sense of his coun- 
try. His conduct was sustained and applauded, not only in the 
House of Commons, but by the public at large. He was soon di- 
rected to return to Algiers, - - which had failed to make any general 
renunciation of the custom of enslaving Christians, to extort by 
force such a stipulation. This expedition is regarded by British his- 
torians with peculiar pride. There is none in the annals of their 
navy, in which the barbarism of war seems so much " to smooth its 
wrinkled front." With a fleet complete at all points, the admiral 
set sail, the 25th of July, 1816, on what was deemed a holy war. 
On the 27th of August, he anchored before the formidable fortifica- 
tions of Algiers, with five line-of-battle ships, five heavy frigates, four 
bomb-vessels, and five gun-brigs, besides a Dutch fleet of five frig- 
ates and a corvette, under Admiral Van de Capellan, who, on learning 
the object of the expedition, solicited and obtained leave to coop- 
erate. It would not be agreeable or instructive to dwell on the scene 
of desolation and blood which ensued. The fleet before night fired 
nearly one hundred and eighteen tons of powder, and fifty thou- 
sand shot, weighing more than five hundred tons, besides shells and 
rockets. The citadel and massive batteries of Algiers were shat- 
tered and crumbled to ruins. The store-houses, ships, and gun- 
boats were in flames, while the blazing lightnings of battle were 
answered by those of heaven in a storm of signal fury. The power 
of the Great Slave-dealer was humbled. 

* Osier's Life of Exmouth, p. 303. It is not a little singular, that Admiral Blake, 
in the time of Cromwell, had similar anxieties on account of his attack upon Tu- 
nis. In his despatch to Secretary Thurloe, he says, " And now, seeing it hath 
pleased God soe signally to justify us herein, I hope his highnes will not be offended 
at it, nor any who regard duly the honor of our nation, although I expect to have the 
clamors of interested men." Thurloe's State Papers, Vol. II. p. 390. 


The terms of submission were announced by the admiral to his 
fleet in an order, dated, Queen Charlotte, Algiers Bay, August 30th, 
1S1G, which may be read with a truer pleasure, perhaps, than any 
in military or naval history. 

" The commander-in-chief," he said, " is happy to inform the fleet 
of the final termination of their strenuous exertions, by the signature of 
peace, confirmed under a salute of twenty-one guns, on the following 
conditions, dictated by his Royal Highness, the Prince Regent of 


" Second. The delivery to my flag of all slaves in tbe dominions 
of the Dey, to whatever nation they may belong, at noon to-morrow. 

" Third. To deliver also to my flag all money received by him 
for the redemption of slaves since the commencement of this year, 
at noon also to-morrow." 

On the next day, twelve hundred slaves were embarked, making, 
with those liberated in his earlier expedition, more than three thou- 
sand, whom, by address or force, Lord Exmouth had delivered from 
slavery. ' 

Thus ended White Slavery in the Barbary States. It had al- 
ready died out in Morocco. It had been quietly renounced by Trip- 
oli and Tunis. Its last retreat was Algiers, whence it was driven 
amidst the thunder of the British cannon. 

Signal honors now awaited the Admiral. He was elevated to a 
new rank in the peerage, and on his coat-of-arms was emblazoned a 
figure never before known in heraldry, a Christian slave holding 
aloft Hie cross and dropping his broken fetters.-] From the officers 
of the squadron he received a costly service of plate, with an in- 
scription, in testimony of "the memorable victory gained at Algiers, 
where the great cause of Christian freedom was bravely fought and 
nobly acconii>lis]ied.' n | But higher far than honor were the rich 
personal satisfactions which he derived from contemplating the nature 
of the cause in which he had been enlisted. In his despatch to the 
government, describing the battle, and \\ritten at the time, he says, 
'.it words which may be felt by others engaged, like him, in efforts 
for the overthrow of slavery :--" In all the vicissitudes ol a long 

n.-l.-r's l.\l'<- of r.xinoutli, p. 334; Kritish Annual Ur-istrr (IHlij, Vol. I. VIII. 
,,,,. 97-106; sii:il-i--> SUtrhrs, j.p. 279-2M. 

i-l r'> Life of K.Miiotilli, |i. '.'.in. 
II. i<!., ].. 


life of public service, no circumstance has ever produced on my 
mind such impressions of gratitude as the event of yesterday. To 
have been one of the humble instruments in the hands of Divine Prov- 
idence for bringing to reason a ferocious government, and destroying 
for ever the insufferable and horrid system oj Christian slavery, can 
never cease to be a source of delight and heartfelt comfort to every 
individual happy enough to be employed in if." * 

The reverses of Algiers did not end here. Christian slavery was 
abolished ; but, in 1830, the insolence of this barbarian government 
aroused the vengeance of France to take military possession of the 
whole country. Algiers capitulated, and the Dey abdicated ; and 
this considerable state has now become a French colony. 

Thus I have endeavoured to present what I could glean in various 
fields on the history of Christian Slavery in the Barbary States. I 
have often employed the words of others, as they seemed best cal- 
culated to convey the exact idea of the scene, incident, or sentiment 
which I wished to preserve. In doing so, I have occupied much 
time ; but I may find my apology in the words of an English chron- 
icler, f " Algier," he says, " were altogether unworthy so long a 
discourse, were not the univorthinesse worthy our consideration. I 
meane the cruell abuse of the Christian name, which let us for in- 
citing our zeale and exciting our charitie and thankfulness more 
deeply weigh, to releeve those in miseries, as we may, with our 
paynes, prayers, purses, and all the best meditations." 

III. It is by a natural transition that I am now conducted to the 
inquiry into the true character of the evil whose history has been 
traced. And here I shall be brief. 

The slavery of Christians by the Barbary States is regarded as 
an unquestioned outrage upon humanity and justice. Our liveliest 
sympathies attend these white brethren, -- torn from their homes, 
the ties of family and friendship rudely severed, parent separated 
from child and husband from wife, exposed at public sale like cattle, 
and, like cattle, dependent upon the uncertain will of an arbitrary 
taskmaster. We read of a "gentleman" who was compelled to be 

* Osier's Life of Exmouth, p. 432 ; Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 282. 
t Purchas's Pilgrims, Vol. II. p. 1565. 



the valet of the barbarian emperor of Morocco ;* and Calderon, who 
has sometimes been called the Shakspeare of the Spanish stage, has 
depicted, in one of his most remarkable plays, the miserable fate of 
a Portuguese prince, condemned by infidel Moors to carry water in 
a garden, f But the lowly in condition had their unrecorded sor- 
rows also, whose sum total must swell to a fearful amount. Who 
can tell how many hearts have been wrung by the pangs of separa- 
tion, how many crushed by the comfortless despair of interminable 
bondage ? " Speaking as a Christian," says the good Catholic father 
who has chronicled much of this misery, "if on the earth there can 
be any condition which, in its character and evils, may represent in 
any manner the dolorous Passion of the Son of God (which exceeded 
all evils and torments, because by it the Lord suffered every kind of 
evil and affliction), it is, beyond question and doubt, none other than 
slavery and captivity in Algiers and Barbary, whose infinite evils, 
terrible torments, miseries without number, afflictions without mitiga- 
tion, it is impossible to comprehend in a brief span of time." ^ 

And here again we may refer to Cervantes, whose pen was dipped 
in his own dark experience. In his Life in Algiers, he has dis- 
played the horrors of the white slave-market. The public crier ex- 
poses for sale a father and mother and their two children. They 
are to be sold separately, or, according to the language of our day, 
" in lots to suit purchasers." The father is resigned, confiding in 
God ; the mother sobs ; while the children, ignorant of the inhu- 

* Braithwaitc's Revolutions of Morocco, p. 233 ; Noah's Travels, p. 

t El Principe Constante. 

t Hacdo, Historia, pp. 139, 140. When we consider the author's character as a 
father of the Catholic Chinch, it will be felt that language can no further go. His 
History of Algiers, which was published in Kil'J, contains two copious Dialogues; 
llir first on Captivity (tie la Cu i>tiin!/i<! \. ami the M ruml on the Martyrs of Algiers 
(de la.-: Miii-tyres de Argel). Besides embodying authentic sketches of the sufferings in 
Algiers, thes form a mine of daical and patristic learning on the origin and char- 
r of slavery, and also of arguments ai:ain~! it, which could not fail to be ex- 
plored with pp'tit hy those who are interested in this subject in our day. In view of 
this irigantic e\ il, the good father says, " Where is charity ? Where is the love of 
<iod .- When- i- /eal flu- his glory ? Where is desire for bis service ? Whore is hu- 
man pity and the compassion of man for man : Certainly, to redeem a captive, to 
lilnTate him from wn-iched >!averv, is the highest work of charity of all that can be 
done in this wnr M ." pp. 140, 141 . 11. -iilcs the illustrations of the hardships of White 
Slavery which ha\ e alread\ heen introduced, I refer briefly to the following : Edin- 
hurL'h IJeview, Ynl. XXVI. pp. 4.VJ-4">4 ; C'roker's Letter, pp. 11 -V.\; Quarterly 
K. view, Vol. XV. p. 1 !.">; Baton's Life, p. Kill; .Noah's Travels, p. 

Trato di .! 


inanity of men, show an instinctive trust in the constant and wakeful 
protection of their parents, now, alas ! impotent to shield them 
from dire calamity. A merchant, inclining to purchase one of the 
" little ones," causes him to open his mouth, in order to see whether 
he is in good condition. The child, still ignorant of the destiny which 
awaits him, imagines that the purchaser is about to extract a tooth, 
and, assuring him that it does not ache, begs him not to pull it out. 
The merchant, who is in other respects a very worthy man, pays 
one hundred and thirty dollars for the youngest child, and the sale is 
completed. Thus a human being --one of those children of whom 
it has been said, " Of such is the kingdom of heaven ' ; -is profane- 
ly treated as an article of merchandise, and torn from a mother's 
arms and a father's support. The hardening influence of custom has 
steeled the merchant into insensibility to this violation of humanity 
and justice, this laceration of sacred ties, this degradation of the im- 
age of God. The unconscious heartlessness of the slave-dealer, 
and the anguish of his victims, are depicted in the dialogue which en- 
sues after the sale.* 

" MERCHANT. Come hither, child, 't is time to go to rest. 
JUAN. Signor, I ivill not leave my mother here, 

To go with any one. 
MOTHER. Alas ! my child, thou art no longer mine, 

But his who bought thee. 
JTJAN. What ! then, have you, mother, 

Forsaken me 1 

MOTHER. Heavens ! how cruel are ye I 
MERCHANT. Come, hasten, lay. 
JUAN. Will you go with me, brother? 

FRANCISCO. I cannot, Juan, 't is not in my power; - 

May Heaven protect you, Juan ! 
MOTHER. O my child, 

My joy and my delight, God won't forget thee ! 
JUAN. O father ! mother ! whither will they bear me 

Away from you ? 

* This translation is borrowed from Sismondi's View of the Literature of the South 
of Europe, by Roscoe, Vol. III. p. 381. There is a letter of " John Dunton, Mari- 
ner," in 1637, addressed to the English Admiralty, which might furnish the foundation 
of a similar scene. " For my only son," he says, "is now a slave in Algier, and but 
ten years of age, and like to be lost for ever, without God's great mercy and the 
king's clemency, which, I hope, may be in some manner obtained." Osborne's 
Voyages, Vol. II. p. 492. 


MOTHER. Permit me, worthy Signer, 

To speak a moment in my infant's ear. 

Grant me this small contentment ; very soon 

I shall know naught but grief. 
MERCHANT. What you would say, 

Say now ; to-night is the last time. 
MOTHER. To-night 

Is the first time my heart e'er felt such grief. 
JUAN. Pray keep me with you, mother, for I know not 

Whither he 'd carry me. 
MOTHER. Alas, poor child ! 

Fortune forsook thee even at thy birth. 

The heavens are overcast, the elements 

Are turbid, and the very sea and winds 

Are all combined against me. Thou, my child, 

Knoiv'st not the dark misfortunes into which 

Thou art so early plunged, but happily 

Lackest the, power to comprehend thy fate. 

What I would crave of thee, my life, since I 

Must never more be blessed with seeing thee, 

Is that thou never, never wilt forget 

To say, as thou wert wont, thy Are Mary ; 

For that bright queen of goodness, grace, and virtue 

Can loosen all thy bonds and give thee freedom. 
AYDAR. Behold the wicked Christian, how she counsels 

Her innocent child ! You wish, then, that your child 

Should, like yourself, continue still in error. 
JUAN. O mother, mother, may I not remain ? 

And must these Moors, then, carry me away ? 
MOTHER. With thee, my child, they rob me of my treasures. 
JUAN. O, I am much afraid ! 

MOTHER. 'T is I, my child, 

AYho ought to fear at seeing thee depart. 

Thou wilt forget thy God, me, and thyself. 

What else can I expect from thee, abandoned 

At such a tender age, amongst a people 

Full of deceit and all iniquity 
CRIER. Silence, you villanous woman ! if you would not 

Have your head pay for what your tongue has done." 

From this scene we gladly avert our countenance, while, from the 
bottom of our hearts, we send our sympathies to the poor sufferers. 
We fain would avert their fate ; we fain would destroy the system of 


slavery, which has made them wretched and their masters cruel. 
And yet we would not judge with harshness an Algerine slave- 
owner. He has been reared in a religion of slavery, --he has 
learned to regard Christians, " guilty of a skin not colored as his 
own," as lawful prey, and has found sanctions for his conduct in 
the injunctions of the Koran, in the custom of his country, and in 
the instinctive dictates of an imagined self-interest. It is, then, the 
"peculiar institution" which we are aroused to execrate, rather 
than the Algerine slave-masters, who glory in its influence, and, 

" so perfect is their misery, 
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, 
But boast themselves more comely than before." 

But there is reason to believe that the sufferings of the white 
slaves were not often greater than is the natural incident of slavery. 
There is an important authority which presents this point in an inter- 
esting light. It is that of General Eaton, who was for some time 
consul of the United States at Tunis, and whose name is not with- 
out interest from the bold expedition against Derne. In a letter to 
his wife, dated at Tunis, April 6th, 1799, and written amidst oppor- 
tunities of observation such as few have enjoyed, he briefly describes 
the condition of this unhappy class, illustrating it by a comparison less 
flattering to our country than to Barbary. " Many of the Christian 
slaves," he says, " have died of grief, and the others linger out a 
life less tolerable than death. Alas ! remorse seizes my whole soul, 
when I reflect that this is, indeed, a copy of the very barbarity which 
my eyes have seen in my own native country. And yet we boast of 
liberty and national justice. How frequently have I seen in the 
Southern States of our own country weeping mothers leading guilt- 
less infants to the sales with as deep anguish as if they led them to 
the slaughter, and yet felt my bosom tranquil in the view of these 
aggressions upon defenceless humanity ! But when I see the same 
enormities practised upon beings whose complexion and blood claim 
kindred with my own, I curse the perpetrators and weep over the 
wretched victims of their rapacity. Indeed, trutli and justice de- 
mand from me the confession, that the Christian slaves amvng the 
barbarians of Jlfrica are treated with more humanity than the African 
slaves among the professing Christians of civilized Jlmerica ; and yet 
here sensibility bleeds at every pore for the wretches whom fate has 
doomed to slavery." 

* Eaton's Life, p. 145. The same judgment was passed by John Wesley as early as 


Such testimony would seem to furnish a standard or measure of 
comparison by which to determine the character of White Slavery 
in the Barbary States. But there are other considerations and au- 
thorities. One of these is the influence of the religion of these bar- 
barians. Travellers remark the generally kind treatment bestowed 
by Mahometans upon slaves.* The lash rarely, if ever, lacerates 
the back of the female ; the knife or branding-iron is not employed 
upon any human being to mark him as the property of his fellow-man. 
Nor is the slave doomed, as in other countries, where the Christian 
religion is professed, to unconditional and perpetual service, without 
prospect of redemption. Hope, the last friend of misfortune, may 
brighten his captivity. He is not walled up by inhuman institutions 
so as to be inaccessible to freedom. "And unto such of your 
slaves," says the Koran, in words worthy of adoption in the legisla- 
tion of Christian countries, " as desire a written instrument, allowing 
them to redeem themselves on paying a certain sum, write one, if ye 
know good in them, and give them of the riches of God, which he 
hath given you." f Thus from the Koran, which ordains slavery, 
come lessons of benignity to the slave ; and one of the most touch- 
ing stories in Mahometanism is of the generosity of All, the com- 
panion of the Prophet, who, after fasting for three days, gave his 
whole provision to a captive not more famished than himself.^ 

Such precepts and examples doubtless had their influence in Al- 
giers. It is evident, from the history of the country, that the 
prejudice of race did not so far prevail as to impress upon the slaves 

177'J. Addressing those engaged in the negro slave-trade, he said, " You have car- 
ried the survivors into the vilest slavery, never to end but with lite, such slavery as 
t.f nut found uiiiniiir the Turks at Algiers, no, nor among the heathens in America." 
Thoughts on Slavery (1772), p. 24. 

1 Wilson's Travels, p. !C5; Edinburgh Review. Vol. XXXVIII. p. 403; Noah's 

Travels, p. :>,(|-J; (Inarterly Ke\ lew, Vol. X V. p. l(i- ; Shaler's SU.-trbes of Algiers, 

p. 77. It \\ns a remark of Will.erforce, that the slave-trade had been able to reverse 
the ordinary effects of Christianity and Mahometanism, and to cause the latter to be 
the instructor and enlightener of mankind, while the former left them under the undis- 
turbed or rather increased influence of all their nati\ e superstitions. Edinburgh Re- 
view, V<.1. V. p. 2iy 

t Sale's Koran, Chap. 24, Vol.11. p.l'.'I. The right of redemption was iv.-ognizcd 
l.\ the <;. otoo Laws. - Ilalhed's Code, cap. s, 1, 2. It seems also to have be- 
longed to the condition of slavery by the laws of most countries in which that condi- 
tion has prevailed. It was unknnuu in the British West Indies while slavery still 
existed there. Step!,, us on West India Slavery, Vol. II. pp. 37? -:;-!. It is also 
unknou u in the Slave States of our country. 
Sale's Koran, Vol. II. p. 474, note. 


and their descendants any indelible mark of exclusion from power 
and influence. It often happened that they arrived at eminent posts 
in the state. The seat of the Deys has more than once been 
filled by humble Christian captives, who have tugged for years at the 

Nor do we feel, from the narratives of captives and of travellers, 
that the condition of the Christian slave was rigorous beyond the or- 
dinary lot of slavery. "The Captive's Story" in Don Quixote 
does not impress the reader with any peculiar horror of" the condi- 
tion from which he had escaped. It is often said that the sufferings 
of Cervantes were among the most severe which even Algiers could 
inflict. f But they did not repress the gayety of his temper ; and 
we learn that in the building where he was confined there was a 
chapel or oratory, in which mass was celebrated, the sacrament ad- 
ministered, and sermons regularly preached by captive priests.^ 

At a later day we are furnished with a still more authentic pic- 
ture. Captain Braithwaite, who accompanied the British minister 1o 
Morocco in 1727, in order to procure the liberation of the British 
captives, after describing their comfortable condition, adds: --"I 
am sure we saw several captives who lived much better in Barbary 
than ever they did in their own country. Whatever money in 
charity was sent them by their friends in Europe was their own, 
unless they defrauded one another, which has happened much of- 
tener than by the Moors. Several of them are rich, and many have 
carried considerable sums out of the country, to the truth of which 
we are all witnesses. Several captives keep their mules, and some 
their servants ; and yet this is called insupportable slavery among 
Turks and Moors. But we found this, as well as many other things 
in this country, strangely misrepresented. " 

These statements which, in the minds of those who do not 

* Haedo, Historla de Argel, p. 122: Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. pp. 169, 172 ; 
Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 77 ; Short Account of Algiers, pp. 22, 25. It seems 
to have been intimated, that, according to the Koran, the condition of slavery ceased 
when the party became a Mussulman. Penny Cyclopaedia, Art. Slavery; Noah's 
Travels, p. 302; Shaler's Sketches, p. 69. It is doubtless true, that, in point of fact, 
freedom generally followed conversion ; but I do not find any injunction on the sub- 
ject in the Koran. 

t De los peores que en Jirge.1 auia. Haedo, Historia de rfrgel, p. 185 ; Navarrete, 
Vida de Cervantes, p. 361. 

t Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, p. 303. 

Braithwaite's Revolutions in Morocco, p. 353. 


place freedom above all price, may seem, at first view, to take 
the sting even from slavery are not without support from other 
sources. Colonel Keatinge, who visited Morocco in 1785, as a 
member of a diplomatic mission from England, says of this evil there, 
that " it is very slightly inflicted, and as to any labor undergone, it 
does not deserve the name " ; * while Mr. Lempriere, who was in 
the same country not long afterwards, adds, - - " To the disgrace of 
Europe, the Moors treat their slaves with humanity."! In Tripoli, 
we are told, by a person who was for ten years a resident, that the 
same gentleness prevailed. " It is a great alleviation to our feel- 
ings," says the writer, speaking of the slaves, " to see them easy 
and well-dressed, and, so far from wearing chains, as captives do in 
most other places, they are perfectly at liberty. "j We have al- 
ready seen the testimony of General Eaton with regard to slavery 
in Tunis ; while Mr. Noah, one of his successors in the consulate 
of the United States at that place, has said, "In Tunis, from 
my observation, the slaves are not severely treated ; they are very 
useful, and many of them have made money." And Mr. Shaler 
has said, - - " In short, there were slaves who left Algiers with 
regret. "|| 

A French writer of more recent date asserts, with some ve- 
hemence, and with the authority of an eyewitness, that the Christian 
slaves at Algiers were not exposed to the miseries which they repre- 
sented. I do not know that he vindicates their slavery, but, like 
Captain Braithwaite, he evidently regards many of them as better 
off than they would be at home. According to him, they were 
well clad and well fed, much belter than the free Christians who were 
there. The youngest and most comely were taken as pages by the 
Dey. Others were employed in the barracks ; others in the gal- 
leys ; but even here there was a chapel, as in the time of Cervantes, 
for the free exercise of the Christian religion. Those who happen- 
ed to be artisans, as carpenters, locksmiths, and calkers, were let 
to the owners of vessels. Others were employed on the public 
works ; while others still were allowed the privilege of keeping a 

* Ke;uini"-"> Ti-.ivrU, p. -J.IO ; Quarterly K< \ lew, Vol. XV. p. 14G. See also Che- 
nier's Present Si;itr ,,(' Morocco, Vol. I. p. I: 1 .'; II. p. :i(i:i. 

t Li-mp.i. re'a 'I'm,,-, p. -.Mil. See a!.-<, pp. li, 1-17, I!M), :J7:>. 
t Narrative of T< n \ . ars' K.-idonce at Tripoli, p. "Jll. 

N.. ;.h's Tnurls, p. :K 
|| Shaler's Sketches, p. 77. 


shop, in which their profits were sometimes so large as to enable 
them at the end of a year to purchase their ransom. But these 
were often known to become indifferent to freedom, and to prefer 
Algiers to their own country. The slaves of private persons were 
sometimes employed in the family of their master, where their treat- 
ment necessarily depended much upon his character. If he were 
gentle and humane, their lot was fortunate ; they were regarded as 
children of the house. If he were harsh and selfish, then the iron 
of slavery did, indeed, enter their souls. Many were bought to be 
sold again for profit into distant parts of the country, where they 
were doomed to exhausting labor, in which event their condition is 
represented as grievous. But special care was bestowed upon 
those who became ill, which was done, it is said, not so much from 
humanity, as through fear of losing them.* 

But, whatever deductions we may make from the current stories 
of White Slavery in the Barbary States, admitting that it was 
mitigated by the genial influence of Mahometanism, that the cap- 
tives were well clad and well fed, much better than the free Chris- 
tians who were there, that they were allowed opportunities of 
Christian worship, that they were often treated with lenity and 
affectionate care, that they were sometimes advanced to posts of 
responsibility and honor, --and that they were known, in their con- 
tentment or stolidity, to become indifferent to freedom, still the 
institution or custom is hardly less hateful in our eyes. " Disguise 
thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery ! thou art a bitter draught ! and 
though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou 
art no less bitter on that account." f Algerine Slavery was a viola- 
tion of the law of nature and of God. It was a usurpation of rights 

not granted to man. 

" O execrable son, so to aspire 
Above his brethren, to himself assuming 
Authority usurped, from God not given ! 
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl, 
Dominion absolute ; that right we hold 
By his donation ; but man over men 
He made not lord, such title to himself 
Reserving, human left from human free.' t 

* Histoire d'Mger : Description de ce Royaume, etc., de ses Forces de Terre et de 
Mer, Masurs et Costumes des Habitans, des Mores, des Arabes, des Juifs, des Chrtt.i- 
ens, de ses Lois, etc. (Paris, 1830), Chap. 27. 

t Sterne. 

t Paradise Lost, Book XII. 64-71. 



Such a relation, in defiance of God, could not fail to accumulate 
disastrous consequences upon all in any way parties to it ; for injus- 
tice and wrong are fatal alike to the doer and the sufferer. It is no- 
torious that in Algiers it exerted a most pernicious influence on 
master and slave. The slave was crushed and degraded by it, his 
intelligence abased, even his love of freedom extinguished. The 
master, accustomed from childhood to its revolting inequalities of 
condition, was exalted into a mood of unconscious arrogance and 
self-confidence, inconsistent with the virtues of a pure and upright 
character. Unlimited power is apt to stretch towards license ; and 
the wives and daughters of Christian slaves were often pressed to be 
the concubines of their Algerine masters.* 

It is well, then, that it has passed away ! The Barbary States 
seem less barbarous, when we no longer discern this cruel oppres- 
sion ! 

But the story of slavery there is not yet all told. While the Bar- 
bary States had received white slaves by sea, stolen by their corsairs, 
they also, from time immemorial, had imported black slaves from 
the south. Over the vast sea of sand, " illimitable and without 
bound," in which is absorbed their southern border, traversed by 
camels, those " ships of the desert," were brought these unfortu- 
nate beings, as merchandise, with gold-dust and ivory, doomed often 
to insufferable torments, while cruel thirst parched the lips, and tears 
vainly moistened the eyes. They also were ravished from their 
homes, and, like their white brethren from the north, compelled to 
taste of slavery. In numbers they have far surpassed their Chris- 
tian peers. But for long years no pen or voice pleaded their cause ; 
nor did the Christian nations - - professing a religion which sends the 
precious sympathies of neighbourhood to the farthest pole of suf- 
fering, and teaches universal humanity, without respect of persons 
ever interfere in any way in their behalf. The navy of Great Brit- 
ain, by the throats of their artillery, argued the freedom of all their 
fellow- Christians, without distinction of nation ; but they did not 

* Noali's Travels, pp. 248, 2">3 ; Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 163. Among 
the concubines of a prince of Morocco were two slaves of the age of fifteen, one 
of English, and tli; ,,il M . r ulTn nch extraction. Lempriere's Tour, p. 147. There 
i< an account of the fate of " one Mrs. Shaw, an Irishwoman," in words hardly 
polite enough to be quoted. Sin- \\.is swept into the harem of Mulry Ishmael, who 
" forced her to turn Moor " ; " but soon after, having taken a dislike to her, he gave 
her to a soldier." -Braithwaite's .Morocco, p. 191. 


heed the slavery of others, Mahometans or idolaters, children of 
the same Father in heaven. Lord Exmouth did but half his work. 
In confining the stipulation to the abolition of Christian slavery only, 
he made a discrimination, which, whether founded on religion or 
color, was selfish and unchristian. Here, again, we notice the same 
inconsistency which darkened the conduct of Charles the Fifth. 
Forgetful of the brotherhood of the race, Christian powers have 
regarded the slavery of blacks as just and proper, while the slav- 
ery of whites has been branded as unjust and sinful. 

As the British fleet sailed proudly from the harbour of Algiers, 
bearing its emancipated white slaves, and the express stipulation, 
that Christian slavery was abolished for ever, it left in bondage be- 
hind large numbers of blacks, distributed throughout all the Barbary 
States. Neglected thus by exclusive Christendom, it is pleasant to 
know that their lot is not always unhappy. In Morocco there are 
negroes who are still detained as slaves ; but the prejudice of color 
seems not to prevail there. They have been called " the grand 
cavaliers of this part of Barbary." * They often become the chief 
magistrates and rulers of cities. f They have constituted the body- 
guard of several of the emperors, and have, on one occasion at least, 
exercised the prerogative of the Pratorian cohorts, in dethroning 
their master. I So that, if negro slavery still exists in this state, it 
has little of that degradation which is connected with it elsewhere. 
Into Algiers France is supposed to have already carried the benign 
principle of law - - earlier recognized by her than by the English 
courts - - which secures freedom to all beneath its influence. 
And now, within the present year, the glad tidings have been re- 
ceived, that the Bey of Tunis, " for the glory of God, and to dis- 

* Braithwaite's Morocco, p. 350. See also Quarterly Review, Vol. XV. p. 168. 

t Braithwaite, p. 222. 

t Ibid., p. 381. 

Somersett's case, recognizing this principle, was decided in 1772. M. Schoell 
snys that " this fine maxim has always obtained" in France. Hisloire Mregee des 
Traitds de Paiz, Tom. XI. p. 178. By the royal ordinance of 1318, it was declared, 
that " all men are born free (francs) by nature ; and that the kingdom of the French 
(Francs) should be so in reality as in name." See the Oration of Brissot de War- 
ville, delivered in Paris, February 19th, 1778, on the necessity of establishing at 
Paris a society to cooperate with those of America and London towards the aboli- 
tion of the trade and slavery of negroes. It is doubtful, however, whether this " fine 
maxim " was recognized in France so completely as M. Schoell asserts. See Ency- 
clopedie'(de Diderot et D'Alembert), Art. Esclavagc. 


tinguish man from the brute creation," has decreed the total abolition 
of human slavery throughout his dominions.* 

Let us turn, then, with hope and confidence to the Barbary 
States ! The virtues and charities do not come single. There is 
among them a common bond, stronger than that of science or 
knowledge. Let one find admission, and a troop will follow. Nor 
is it unreasonable to anticipate other improvements in states which 
have renounced a long-cherished system of White Slavery, while 
they have done much to abolish or mitigate the slavery of others not 
white, and to overcome the inhuman prejudice of color. The 
Christian nations of Europe first declared, and practically enforced, 
within their own European dominions, the vital truth of freedom, 
that man cannot hold property in his brother-man. Algiers and 
Tunis, like Saul of Tarsus, have been turned fronrthe path of per- 
secution, and now receive the same faith. Algiers and Tunis now 
help to plead the cause of freedom. Such a cause is in sacred fel- 
lowship with all those principles which promote the progress of man. 
And who can tell that this despised portion of the globe is not des- 
tined to yet another restoration ? It was here in Northern Africa 
that civilization was first nursed, that commerce early spread her 
white wrings, that Christianity was taught by the honeyed lips of 
Augustine. All these are again returning to their ancient home. 
Civilization, commerce, and Christianity once more shed their be- 
nignant influences upon the land to which they have long been stran- 
gers. A new health and vigor now animate its exertions. Like 
its own giant Antaeus, whose tomb is placed by tradition among 
the hill-sides of Algiers, it has often been felled to the earth, but 
it now rises with renewed strength, to gain yet higher victories. 

* It is not known that it has been abolished yet in Tripoli.